For our summer holidays, Brian and I went to Scotland for a week. We took our mountain bikes and planned a couple of routes. The first ride around Aviemore was long, but beautiful and classed as “super easy” from a mountain bike perspective. The second trip near Torridon, even though apparently in the “all skill level” category, according to my app, turned out very differently…
It started off easy with a wide dirt road around a beautiful loch, which turned into an interesting muddy single track, which then moved into a gravel road that was super steep and then it stopped… The following two and a half hours were very insightful, painful and inspirational all at the same time. The scenery was stunning, it was very remote and there was not a single person in sight. However, we had to push the bike up the hill! I had never heard of the term “hike a bike” and was introduced to this concept on an experiential level right there. Normally you would carry your light weight mountain up the hill. Mine, a definitely more economical version, weighed so much, that carrying it up the hill was out of the question. So we pushed and lifted; and pushed and lifted over rocks and through streams. We averaged 3 km/h !!! After 30 minutes of exhausting exercise, I realised that the remaining 8 kilometres would not be any different. After I understood that and also felt that there was no point in blaming anybody, something really interesting shifted inside of me. Peace and a very deep rooted acceptance of the situation emerged. We had enough daylight, and even though we did not have enough water, I had made the decision that it was safe to drink out of the stream - and it was (after some small doubts that came after I drank the water…). I was grateful for every inch we could ride, even though there were few. At the same time, I surrendered to the fact that it was tough. I was elated when we reached the top, even though we could not ride down either…. The steep descent, including rock gardens, wore my brakes out, but somehow even the crossing of a river could not detract from my inner peace. There were moments where I thought I could not do it and it was exhausting, but there was absolutely no chatter in my mind and I somehow managed to tap into a pool of inner resources and guidance that I did not know I had. It was a truly magical experience, even though outright dangerous at times.
I liked the person I found within myself when I pushed the bike up the mountain; a person that can dig deep and find some strength from nowhere; a person that was at peace. I very much feel that this is within all of us. In those moments when we think we cannot do it, when we feel we had enough or want to give up, there is something else that can come in and support us. Let it.
One of the approaches I take as a yoga teacher and also psychotherapist is to pay attention to what is coming up. I follow what is emerging in the energetic field and my intent is to bring curiosity, acceptance and neutrality to it. It’s a very organic method of working led by the process vs. me trying to take control and direct things in a certain way, which is definitely a go to place of mine. I like certainty and I like to know where I’m heading. Yoga and Body Psychotherapy have taught and continue to teach me to stand in an empty room and wait. Instead of wanting to make things happen or having a pre-conceived idea where life takes me, I’m working on allowing the process to move through as it needs to. My intent is to hold space for the people I work with in exactly that way. And as my therapist used to say: It takes a lot of courage and nerve to stand in an empty room. It’s about creating space, not filling it back up and then waiting what is coming to the surface. In the current times with all the uncertainty, I feel this is more relevant than ever.
What happens when you stand in an empty space? What are your go to places? What happens when there is space in your life?
We've had overwhelming support for our online sessions. Thank you all who took the leap to join.
Clients' feedback has been great, too. People have commented that being in the live online classes had felt almost like being at Equilibrium. You still receive verbal cues and tailored instructions in the sessions. We feel they are the next best thing to being physically at the centres.
Since the announcements one week ago, all online sessions have been broadcast from the teacher's home. Out of this necessity, the issue of the echo has been resolved and the audio improved. Thank you all who contributed to fine tuning the entire experience. We're now muting participants and spotlighting the teacher, so that the screen does not move between people.
We're currently varying the timetable from week to week and we'd like to hear your feedback on what is on offer. We feel it's a fantastic opportunity to try different teachers, also. Here is the link for the timetable: Online Scheduler
Currently, Julie B. is unfortunately unable to teach a class from home. She has kindly recorded a yoga nidra for you.
Here is a link to her free recording:
Thank you so much, Julie, for your gift!
See you on your cyber mat!
One of the aspects I've always been drawn to in Forrest Yoga is the premise that asana is an expression of the individual in any particular moment in time. It's not about putting the body into shape, but rather shaping the pose around the body, so that the pose can serve the person. Lasting transformation is a movement from the inside outside rather than trying to trim the body, mind or spirit into a certain shape, so they can fit a form we somehow believe is the right one.
Outside the yoga room the feeling that our bodies are not perfect or fitting the ideal is definitely prevalent and is causing a lot of harm. We can be swept away so easily with the belief that we are not thin enough, athletic enough, muscular enough, lean enough and that our bellies are not flat enough. It then taints everything we do. In those moments, it's useful to remind ourselves that our body is an expression of who we are and that it's incredibly unhelpful to try and fit it into a shape it should not be. Rather, I'd love for all of us to celebrate our body, mind, psyche and spirit just the way they are and the way they are changing with age, season, moon cycles, etc.
Celebrate who you are unashamedly!
Several months ago I dreamt about a dragon. She was quite small and was not able to spit fire. In many respects she felt like a very young dragon. The dream was more complex than that, but I have become very fascinated specifically about this young dragon and have been exploring the medicine of this symbol.
What has stood out for me when reading and exploring it in my therapy and in supervision is that the dragon carries magic and a very ancient wisdom. She is the keeper of something very precious. I feel that we all carry magic inside of us, but we are too busy in our lives and live too much in our heads to connect to the ancient knowledge we carry in our bodies. We also fight the magic by rationalising our lives and our experiences instead of tolerating the mystery and being fascinated by it.
Connect to your own magic instead of trying to kill it off! Connect to your own dragon! Write to me and tell me about your magic moments and your own dragon at email@example.com
Recently, owl has appeared not just in my dreams, but also everywhere around me. After I taught a workshop in Vienna where a friend of mine owns and runs a yoga studio, I went to the Albertina museum and there was a print of Albrecht Duerer's "Little Owl", which I was immediately drawn to. Reading up on the meaning of owl, I realized what a quietly powerful animal it is.
Owl is a symbol for intuition and inner guidance. There is an inward looking wisdom around the owl and it has an ability to see beyond the obvious. It's also a symbol of transitioning and calling on the owl is needed when we find ourselves in dark places. Owl has night vision, patience and amazing skills waiting for the exact right moment to make a move on its prey. Discernment, keen observation, silence, meditation, inner wisdom and intuition are qualities of the owl.
Moving into the winter months, it seems exactly the kind of qualities we need in order to cultivate space for reflection, so that we can go with the energy of the darker nights and colder days.
"You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically" . (J. Krishnamurti) .
Life is in constant flux and we are changing systems, interacting with other changing systems. To engage fully in this ever-changing world we need to let go of our habituated and conditioned self; in other words there needs to be a dying of the past in every moment. We can only respond authentically to what is in front of us if we are fully present and free of what has happened before. Being truly awake naturally results in finding our own rhythm and being in alignment with ourselves and the environment. When we are afraid of death, we are afraid of life. Each time we want to grow, we must leave behind the past moments.
If you want to explore this more, come to my workshop at The Big Web - a Forrest Yoga Conference, which will take place in September at Equilibrium. My workshop facilitates a state of presence within ourselves and in relation to other people by using meditation and partner exercises, including Ana Forrest's death meditation. Especially the death meditation will help you to clarify what is truly important in your life as opposed to what comes out of a state of non-presence and conditioning.
Yoga, well-being and mindfulness... always walk in beauty.