Inspired by animals…

We have a new addition to our family, a ten month old border collie cross staffy. His name is Rex and he has been with us for just over a month now. He quickly became part of the family along with our two cats, two rabbits and blue tongued lizard.

Black and white dog sitting on a rock

 

Many yoga poses are named after animals, I think because they are wonderful at moving in the way their bodies need to. When animals stretch and move they do so instinctively, feeling into what their body needs rather than thinking about what they should do. Something I repeat time and again in my yoga teaching is to let the mind take a back seat and the body take control, move in your yoga postures the way your body feels good.

When Rex wakes up in the morning he always practices up facing into down facing dog, and he looks like he enjoys it so much I want to join him. I imagine ancient yogis watching and admiring a stretching dog many years ago in much the same way that I do every morning and coming up with the postures we practice today.

Watch a cat settling down for a nap, the care they take in making sure everything is perfect for them to completely enjoy their rest. We humans quite often laugh at this attention to detail but we can also copy it as we lay down to sleep at the end of the day, taking the time to perfect the conditions we need to rest well.

Rex has no problems with this, as well as being a champion at both up facing and down facing dog he is a master of savasana, his favorite position is on his bed with his head hanging off the side and resting on the floor.

Dog lying on bed fast asleep

The first time he did this I got quite alarmed and checked that he was breathing, yes he was, just very deeply in a state of complete relaxation.

Hope you get to rest as deeply!

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

Good things come to those who wait…

Though this sounds very clichéd it is also often very true. Patience is difficult but necessary and aligns very much with yogic philosophy. Santosha – contentment and acceptance of each moment as it is without the need for change and tapas – working towards a goal diligently and passionately despite the challenges that arise are both very relevant.

I have been waiting for what seems like a long time for my local teaching venue to be ready this year, my local students have been waiting just as patiently (I hope) and we are all excited to be resuming classes in the brand new Braybrook Community Hub next Thursday evening. Like my home renovations the building has taken longer than expected to be completed but it is finally ready and my booking is confirmed, 6:30-8pm Thursday evenings. These classes are a mix of asana, meditation and relaxation. The 90 minute length gives time for us to really deeply explore the many practices of yoga. Asana practice to begin, cleansing and releasing through the physical body then on to some of the more subtle yet equally powerful and important practices including pranayama, meditation, chanting and relaxation.

I haven’t so much missed these classes as I have been busy teaching elsewhere but I have really missed my Thursday night students, they are a wonderful group of people and we have a beautiful community feel to our classes. New students often comment on how welcomed they feel in the classes, these regulars support each other and me through all of life’s joys and challenges. It is such a privilege for me to share yoga with them and I have missed them terribly.

I’ve also been eagerly awaiting the resumption of my Mums & Bubs classes at Harvest Yoga in Kensington which are starting up again on Thursday 23rd April. In these classes we practice baby massage, baby yoga and gentle yoga practices specifically chosen to help mums to stretch, move and take some time out from their busy days to connect to their bodies and minds and, most importantly, to relax and restore energy and wellbeing.

I hope to see you at one class or another, hope whatever you’ve been waiting for is just around the corner…

Love and light,

Belinda

xxx

The Bright Side

Last week I was devastated to come home from teaching and discover that a huge tree had been removed from my neighbours yard. I loved that tree because from our yard it blocked the view of their house and created a very private, enclosed space. It was huge and its branches spread as wide as they reached high. I don’t know what type of tree it was, only that it was evergreen and big and beautiful. It dropped litter on our shed but we forgave it over and over again because of the space that it filled, the view that it gave and the birds that it protected whose songs we have enjoyed in the almost twenty years we have lived here.

So you can appreciate my feeling to find it gone. Completely gone. A big empty space where it used to be and a view of a house roof where there used to be deep green leaves an spreading branches. It was their tree and I completely understand the reasons they had it removed. It filled their whole yard and made growing anything else almost impossible as it shaded everything deeply. It also dropped a lot of litter, leaves and seeds spread thickly beneath its branches.

When I saw that it was gone my initial feeling was deep sadness, such a beautiful tree which had sheltered so many creatures was gone, the big gap where it used to be seemed huge.

It has been a week now and I have slowly become used to the wide open sky where there used to be leaves and branches. Over the time that has passed I have noticed the brightness in my kitchen now that the tree is not blocking as much of the skyscape. We can see the sun rising while we eat breakfast which we’ve never been able to before as the tree was to the east of our house. We can also see more of the night sky, stars, moon, clouds.

So my devastated feelings are slowly being replaced with acceptance that the tree is gone and pleasure at the new things that have been revealed in its absence.

Looking on the bright side can be taken very literally here, I never noticed just how dark and shady that part of our yard was due to the huge tree. Now we have a bright side, sunshine and moonlight free to stream in. So I am grateful for all of the years we enjoyed the tree, sad that it has gone and happy that now we are enjoying a brighter yard and house. What a complicated range of emotions…

Love and light (and Happy Easter),

Belinda

xxx