Let’s do yoga with Mr Modi!!!

I don’t care what ANYONE says ……this is the man for me ……well not literally:D:D:D

BUT anyone who practices Yoga can be trusted …..Mr Modi ( Indian Prime Minister) is reclaiming Yoga ….it is NOT a commodity ….it is an ancient all encompassing practice …..you can be ANY religion or NONE  ….you can be fat ….thin ….old …..young ….black …white ….yellow …you might already have health problems ….it’s NOT about being a supermodel dressed in designer ‘Yoga Gear’ tying yourself in knots ….it costs 0 …..the benefits are now being proven by scientific research …..all you need is maybe a mat …enough space to lie flat with your arms outstretched and an ability to breath …and yes these guys are sitting in the lotus position …but if you can’t it doesn’t matter …us westerners having spent years sat in chairs often struggle with it …just sit cross legged or however is comfortable to meditate ……

Let’s join the ‘Yoga Revolution’ …….Ommmmmmmm:D:D:D

https://youtu.be/ZMTberFK48w

Oh and the link was sent to me by my buddy Rahul ….it’s cheered me up no end :D:D:D

Still want to read those ‘Panama Papers’ tho …..go knocking on a few doors taking some teabags a la Satish Kumar …saying

‘ Hello my names Fijay …I’ve brought you some teabags …how about popping the kettle on so we can have a nice cuppa and a chat’:D:D:D

India & me

OK ….so I’m a bit of an Indophile …sometimes you just can’t help the ‘crushes’ you have can you? ….I KNOW there is devastating poverty,HUGE divisions between rich and poor,  entrenched social stigma’s and ALL kinds of issues and problems in this country. However, there is something about the ‘soul’ of the place and its people …….or there was the last time I visited:)

Now I have ‘lost’ loads of stuff over the years ……BUT last year Sam picked a book up and a photo dropped out ….and he said ‘Who’s this?’

Well amongst the old faded photo’s below ( there were a few more in the back of the book) is the one he was talking about:D:D:D   Yep ….this was my first trip to India ….West Bengal to be exact ….although had a trip up to Darjeeling and the Hymalayan foothills also whilst there….suffice to say ….despite the countries problems ( every country has them) …..I fell in love with the place 🙂

And NO it wasn’t some kind of ‘spiritual journey’ type visit …it was with my dear friend who was originally from Kolkata ( and at that time Kokata was not really on the tourist map) ……and as I am writing this now I am laughing as memories are coming back …..for a start it was Monsoon season ….perhaps not the BEST time to go …..and all in all it was HILARIOUS ….myself and Maus had a really special friendship …..one of those friendships where we told each other EXACTLY how it is:D:D:D

I understand India has developed a LOT since I last visited …..and of COURSE I understand that ….modern technology and infrastructure …better healthcare and some kind of safety net for the poor ….but I REALLY hope they don’t throw the baby out with the bath water in terms of the rich cultural heritage based on yogic principles ….get it it right …and this country could be the one that shows the rest of us a different way of doing things ….turn things around in a collaborative way:)

I understand from Indian bloggers that it doesn’t look like this could happen at present …young people are buying into the western model WHOLESALE ….BUT ….I’m ever hopeful….in the West …all things ‘Yoga’ is VERY trendy with young people ….that in itself is funny isn’t it?     Maybe there’s a kind of yin/yan thing going on and it will all balance out in the end:)

ANYWAY ….enjoy the rather faded and rainy looking mish mash of photo’s below …and see if you can spot ‘Wally’:D:D:D

I could actually do a whole blog series on ‘India & Me’ if I got my act together …..a bit like the ‘My family & other animals’ that’s in the back of my head:D:D:D

Maybe one day:)

……and where might a new way of doing things come from I wonder?

Now this made me think maybe Cameron ain’t too bad AFTERALL …….hmmmmm well no not quite BUT  maybe a benefit of coming out of the EU is better communication and trade with India, Africa, Canada and others …..Hmmmmm check this one out ….seems am not the only one who is some kind of ‘Indophile’:D:D:D

https://youtu.be/SAVjrwY6Jsg

Hmmmmm when I think about it , it makes more sense ……it was EU rules stopped us having fish n chips wrapped in newspaper ….our national dish was screwed …BRING BACK FISH n CHIPS with CURRY SAUCE wrapped in NEWSPAPER …eaten sat on a wall outside on a frosty winters night YES one of those cheap and cheerful traditions banished by the beige beaurocrats in Brussels:D:D:D:D

Oooooops have got headache now ….shhhhhhh …..sleeeeep

Think I’ve sussed what’s going on here …..

Ok ….so last year beards were big with the young ‘hipster’ guys and this year it seems to be the wearing of hair tied up in a bun ….BUT it’s part of the SAME phenomenon ….it’s the SAME guys ….they just haven’t shaved or cut their hair for the past year LOOK !!!


See what I mean:D:D:D    Maybe we’re all becoming ‘Indophiles’ there IS something trad yogi about this particular look you have to admit:D:D:D

Hmmmmmm according to my recent travel companion, the youngsters in India are all donning suits wanting fast cars, girls in mini skirts and all mod cons ….and the Brits are turning to THIS …..a topsy turvey world indeed …..or maybe a great big invisible wooden spoon stirring things up a bit  ….a global soup on a human level:D:D:D …..I like the thought of that tho ….hmmmmm YES soup a bit like a bag of revels is always interesting isn’t it?

‘Karma Currency’

So right at this moment I am in Islington London ….for those who don’t know it ..it’s a slightly bohemian area( kind of champagne socialist if you know what I mean) …..a mix of young hipsters …older semi hippy types ..and folk from allover the world ….where I am staying the owners are Indian …my neighbours are African …there is a young family from the Netherlands and a young hip Japanese couple:D:D:D

It’s interesting that when I was down here last year I noticed beards were big with the young hipsters …..this year it appears to be buns ….and no ….I don’t mean the American version …in fact folk around Islington appear to have small…or at least average sized buns of the American variety ….I think it’s down to the largely vegetarian diet  ….there’s expensive yoga classes and vegetarian restaurants galore in this neck of the woods:D:D ….Oh ….and I’m referring to the guys ….you know ….when I’m talking about beards and buns …..GOD where am I going with this ???:D:D:D

SO ….what the heck am I doing HERE???

Well …last year I attended a weekend at a place called ‘Yoga Campus’…there was a lecture at Kings College London (yes …yes …I know …I wondered what I was doing there too ) on the Friday eve and 2 full days of Yoga led by a guy called Dr  ALV Kumar ….who works as a Nuclear Physicist is a family man AND Yogi …….and it was FABULOUS …on the Friday eve he was in a lecture theatre firing marbles at slits in a board amongst other things:D:D:D …..followed by 2 full days of Yoga as a meditative practice with the breath …..a modern day guy teaching traditional yoga  HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE ……HURRAH!!!:D:D:D

Anyway …the other week I received an e’mail saying they were opening another ‘Yoga Campus’ in Manchester and they were having an ‘open weekend’ this weekend …..I thought …Ooooh the boys will be with their Dad so I might pop along for a look around ….but THEN I received another e’mail about training as a meditation teacher with ‘Traditional Yoga UK’ a branch of Kumar’s charity ‘Yoga Healing’and THAT was this weekend too ….it was a no brainer ….so here I am …and enjoying myself immensely …………………whether I become a meditation teacher or not remains to be seen :D:D:D….. but  this course in terms of explanation of meditation, the different forms and why we focus on the breath …not to mention study of the Yoga Sutra’s and the similarity with Buddhist texts is SPOT ON!!!

There’s a couple of 10 day retreats too ….one here in the UK and another in India….but I can’t afford those ….either financially or in terms of taking time off work ….so will just have to do the weekend follow up in August

So there we are ………

And I haven’t even got around to why this post is called ‘Karma Currency’ yet:D:D:D

Hmmmmmm ……ok so let’s get back to that …..I think I mentioned in my ‘Deserted British Beach in Febuary’ post about how we meet amazing folk by chance …….last year when heading down here I got the train…..it so happened that rhe train was cancelled but we were ‘allowed to catch the one coming behind …….whilst waiting I got chatting to a woman who was on her way to Greece to help out with the migrant crisis …at the time this wasn’t being reported much in the press ….when the train came we got on the first class carriage …we chatted all the way down to London …when they came round with lunch we decided to pretend we had been in first class all along …maybe a little naughty but hey ho:D:D

This time everything was a bit last minute and more strapped for cash so caught the bus …the bus was delayed too (we really do need to renationalise public transport here) ……anyway. ..my travel companion this time was a young(ish) lad who lives just outside London working as a consultant researching and developing alternative energy systems …gets all over the world …and had just spent a few days in Leeds where he teaches and mentors at the University ….my god ….and I thought I could talk:D:D:D ……No polite chit chat for us …covered the referendum and British Politics …the Indian Prime Minister Modi global finance and the subject of my last blog post …..not to mention space:D:D …when he finally found out why I was going down to London his reply was …’My god the world really is topsy turvey ….here’s me working all hours for a British company that doesn’t trust its employees and is far too beurocratic …..and there’s you studying yoga which I abandoned when I was about 12 ‘ …..YES he was Indian :D:D:D ….and in actual fact judging by his philosophy on and way he lived his life he hasn’t abandoned it really ….

On discussing global finance and greed he said he felt the best currency was ‘Karma Currency’ ……I asked if he would please put his hat in the ring for electing as our PM ….he replied that he couldn’t as did not have a British passport  …..to which I replied ‘Well you keep doing what you’re doing then but I think I might just emigrate’:D:D:D

Am serious too …I think I’m becoming an ‘Indophile’or something :D:D … I have ambitions to retire to Jaipur …it looks such a beautiful place …steeped in history …yet what looks like a potential 21st century  art scene:):):):)

Aaaaah well ….it’s good to dream

Last day here tomorrow …then jump on the bus back up north …pick up the boys and back to the usual working week ……..Hmmmm minus clean laundry ….Oh what the heck:D:D:D

The wonders of blogging

What with the terrible events last week I  forgot to blog this …. now we may have national borders or oceans between us BUT one of the beauty’s of blogging is that they ‘virtually’  disappear:):):):):):)

I am a busy working mum in the UK …pescatarian (that’s fish eater not a swear word) ….like to cook …but time is of the essence particularly during the working week ….HOWEVER, I am following a fabulous cookery blog from an equally busy lady in India whose blog is called ‘Ministry of Curry’…..the other week I did a fabulous beetroot salad from this site and this week cooked this very simple fish recipe ( although I used halibut steak instead of the pomfret described as it isn’t available here) …..the beauty of these recipes is that they are quick, easy and believe me DELICIOUS!!!

Now mine doesn’t look quite as good as hers …I doubt I am going to make it onto the TV show Masterchef anytime soon:D:D:D …BUT …..Ta DaaAH!!!

Yep …believe me these recipes are wonderful ….I think Archana should put them in a book and sell it on Amazon or something …I would certainly buy it ….meanwhile check out her blog and enjoy:):):):):)

 

and so preparing for another week ….a little sad …a little hollow …. but it’ll be ok … just do your best ..and keep moving foreward ….think need to remember to switch on the ‘lone worker’ device tho ….yep we were reissued but keep forgetting about it ….ANYWAY ….breeeeeeeeeath

Yoga …..India’s GREATEST export


I’ll tell you a little story

So …a number of years ago …not tooooo many …but enough to be in double figures:D:D:D….a young(ish) woman slowly, painfully made her way down a backstreet in a post industrial town in the north of England …it was late September …dusk ….but it seemed darker due to the penetrating drizzle …that kind which seems to soak right through and chill to the bone.

Through the dusty windows of an old stone building, huge orbs suspended from a high ceiling inside gave off an other worldly yet warm glow into the street….the door was heavy …..thickly painted a cobalt blue….It took all her strength to open it …..when it did she was met by the sudden whiff of old wood, a musty dampness, polish, and dust ….you know ….that ‘old building’ kind of smell of old schoolrooms and church halls.

She wasn’t really sure why she was there other than a vague notion of perhaps being able to take some regular gentle excersise …previously she had taken things pretty much for granted ….the fast paced lifestyle, career moving foreward, happy marriage, starting a family,….an ACTIVE goal driven life …everything seemingly moving in the ‘right’ direction …’under control’:D:D:D

That was before her world turned completely upside down ….events which had left her in intense physical and psychological pain ….she could barely walk and felt a kind of numbness as tho the world was going on around her and she was no longer really part of it ……physically broken and depleted of ‘energy’ ….running on empty

Goodness knows what she must have looked like ….but a lovely woman came to greet her …an older woman …much older ….with a mess of snowy white hair, a sparkle in her eyes and chuckle in her voice.  They had a conversation about the events and injuries that had led her there ….surprisingly she was not turned away but welcomed in …..

There were lots of people in there but she didn’t really notice …just directed to lay down close her eyes and rest

Concious of eyelids flickering …..she could hear the swoosh and rumble of passing traffic and the shouts and cries of kids larking about in the distance…..the odd siren …the everyday sounds

Slowly ….. bizarrely ….the sound of ocean waves came in …..quiet at first ….incongruous to the surrroundings ….but gradually increasing in volume drowning out the exterior urban noise …the older woman in her sing song voice encouraged focus on the ocean ….waves gently crashing ….the ebb and flow ……then gently bringing in movement ….simply raising and lowering alternate arms ….breath in raise ….breath out lower ….inhale ….exhale ….ebb and flow ….sound, movement and breath ebbing and flowing in syncrony ….sound gradually …unnoticeabley …quietning to the background …focussing just on the breath and gentle movement …the slooooow steady rhythm

And that was it to start with ….simple …easy ….for weeks and weeks this is all the young woman could do ….week in week out for 2 hours ….laid out flat on a musty, dusty old floor …but it felt as calming and luxurious as being on a beautiful desert Island to her ….a soothing and comforting balm ….’thoughts’ would come in …..sometimes in flashes ….sometimes like watching a film reel …..letting them in and pass with the ebb and flow like the wet of spontaneous tears she also felt in those early days …….allowing ….just letting it happen….not following but focussing on the breath beneath …falling into the sublime darkness like being hugged in a cosseting blanket ……..falling deeper and deeper ……

As the weeks became months and months became years it became hard to remember the empty shell of a person that had walked through the door into that musty old hall …at times…particularly in the early days … she had many questions of the older woman …she wanted to understand what was happening …how it worked:D:D:D… the older woman smiled her sparkly smile and chuckled ..advising to just ‘keep keeping it simple’ focussing on the breath and just ‘allowing’ the rest to follow …no ‘seeking’….no ‘expectation’ of ‘results’ …just surrender …she said she was not a ‘teacher’ had no ‘special powers’:D:D:D …just an ordinary woman acting as ‘guide’….a guide to what was there already …in all of us:)

Slowly and gradually …over time …the young woman was able to bring further movement in ….ALWAYS eyes closed ….focussing on the slow deep ebb and flow of the breath ….never ‘trying’ or ‘forcing’ …just movements, synchronised with breath ….aware of the subtle feelings …the depth ….directing the healing breath to where it was needed …..stopping at any discomfort ….the whole practise a practise of ‘meditation’ …later using the breath to move the body into asana and hold …..balance … ( although when awareness crept in ….or should I say loss of focus ..she often toppled over:D:D:D…eventually tho she could even sit without discomfort…turning focus inward to rest the body and mind ….peace AND some …she called this …maybe a tad audaciously:D:D:D ….’Tuning in to Om’

And she began to ‘notice’ things in everyday life…little things …she had a young child and they seemed to grow together …..she was seeing things through a child’s eyes as tho seeing for the first time …..the SKY ..how beautiful and dynamic …..ever changing …and dandilions …how bright and resilient a flower ….and the intricacy of a dandilion clock not to mention the fun of blowing them, watching their delicate seeds float away on the breeze…..the beauty and wonder around seemed endless

And as time passed … in daily life…not only could she walk freely with no pain but could walk up and down hills with her child in a pouch and a backpack full of groceries ….she never DID master the pram and pushchair:D:D:D

Later she could run, scramble and climb…something not done since a child herself….keeping up with her then 2 young cubs:D:D:D…she called all this …. the tapping into a child’s perspective ….the playfullnes and wonder …letting go of all else in that moment …’The spirit of 3′:D:D:D

Yoga …it healed her AND some …. subtley and gradually over time ….all the way from India to a musty old hall in the north of England:D:D:D …. Surely India’s GREATEST export:)


(images courtesy of google images …not sure if it’s legal using them …but hey …they’re lovely aren’t they?)