Today, 6am from 28 August 2018
When I was in the Spanish Mountains with Kia, we discussed the concept of citta prasadanam, which she translated as sensory mindfulness. The Sanskrit term means, literally, ‘a mind with a sweet disposition’ and it is a state yogis aspire to.
Patanjali refers to it in Sutra 1.33: Maitri karuna muditopekshanam sukha duhkha punya-apunya vishayanam bhavanatash citta prasadanam. Those of you who have done my Sutras course know that this is one of my favourite sutras. It is very practical. Cultivating citta prasadanam does not need you to put your legs behind the head. Instead, Patanjali recommends an ‘attitude of friendship toward those who are happy, compassion toward those in distress; joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are non-virtuous’ (to take Edwin Bryant’s translation). Then lucidity and clarity arise in the mind.
I am finishing my stay in south Crete, where I come every year to study with Radha and Pierre. It has been an amazing couple of weeks, full of learning and stability. I love coming here, enjoying the landscape, replenishing my energy, working with my teachers and doing the life audit Yoga Plus always invites me to do. I gain so much clarity in my practice, my view of life and yoga while here. I cannot wait to share it with you when my classes start next week. It has also been marvellous to spend time with my husband Neil, my friends, Rosina, and with Kia and her beautiful family, as well as meet new (and very interesting) yogis. I love expanding my yoga family! Rosina starts her classes on Monday, Kia is coming to Glasgow at the end of September, and Radha and Pierre will visit us in November. We are very lucky to host such dedicated and nurturing teachers and I hope some of you can join us at the Arlington Baths. Clarity will come!
What I have been listening
Nature! Crete is my personal paradise on earth. Every time I come here (and it is my fourth year), I am surprised at how healthy it is to strip my life right back, to have and to do less. So I have been listening to the sea: the calmness of Agios Pavlos beach, the more risky sound of middle beach, the expansiveness of Akoumia beach. Simple sounds of nature. The cyclical nature of this makes me connect to my body, grounds me and allows my dreams to just happen. It is so important to be able to connect to oneself and the world, though listening, before Autumn comes.
What I have been thinking about
Yogis consider all sensory input part of their diet. For a while, I have been moving towards veganism but now I am also considering what I read, what websites I visit, what and whom I listen to. Before I thought of these as consumption, transactions that involved an exchange, but thinking of them as diet is deeper: you put them inside you and they change the chemistry of your body. Just as a vegan diet changed my health for the better, I feel considering digital consumption will also change my biochemistry and help men towards that clarity I mentioned above.
What I have been reading
Instead of reading (or perhaps as well as), this month I have compiled a list of books on my website. I often get asked, at the end of courses and sessions, what students could read to support them outside class. I have chosen only a few, the very best and the most helpful to me, and have organised them in sections on scriptures (essential, don’t be scared!), general books on yoga, asana manuals and pranayama. I will keep adding as I find more worthy titles. If there is a book or a website that has changed your yoga practice, I’d love to hear about it!
4 September – 13 December 2018
at the Arlington Baths, 61 Arlington Street Glasgow G3 6DT, as part of Rosina Bonsu’s programme:
Tuesdays, 18.15 – 20.30: Assisted Self-Practice (Mysore), £11 full price | £9 concession or included in the 8 class and unlimited cards.
Thursdays, 7.45 – 9.30: Assisted Self-Practice (Mysore), £11 full price | £9 concession or included in the 8 class and unlimited cards.
Fridays, 12, 19 October 16.30 – 17.45: Fundamentals of the Breath. Booking required. £26/£23 Arlington members, concessions / £45/£40 for both courses.
Fridays, 2, 9 November 16.30 – 17.45: Deepening your Breath (for yoga & life). Booking required. £26/£23 Arlington members, concessions / £45/£40 for both courses.