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Yoga

SCOTLAND

MAGAZINE

Issue 48 • September 2015

Theme: Practising Ahimsa: Living with Animals

PUBLISHED BY YOGA SCOTLAND

www.yogascotland.org.uk Scottish Charity Number SCO20590

sportscotland

Governing Body for Yoga in Scotland


w www.balance.co.uk ww.balance.co.uk

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Promoting physical and mindful wellbeing


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Editorial Walking down the street the other morning on my way to get bread and books, I found myself (as so often) having to stop and swerve as the person in front of me decided to stop dead in the middle of the pavement to look at and reply to a text. His eyes fixed on his little screen, I had assumed he was paying no attention at all to me. A little way down the street though, I heard him approaching, apologising profusely for having been so rude and saying he hated it when people did that, so why had he just done it? Thanking him for his words, I congratulated him on having noticed what he had done and went on my way, reflecting on our brief encounter and the power of a little consideration for others to make us feel good. If such examples of simple consideration and kindness for other humans are too often in short supply, how much more lacking can kindness to ‘non-human animals’ be, in spite of the plethora of charities in the UK working to help and protect them. There seem to be endless examples of cruelty, some of which reach the news, although of course so many don’t – a dog abandoned at a railway station, a tortoise sold on eBay and sent through the post, a cat put in a wheelie bin…And so on. Of course agreeing that such treatment is cruel is selfevident, but when it comes to responses, attitudes diverge, falling into two broad categories: on the one hand animal welfare (improving the situation) and on the other rejection of the notion that humans are in any way superior to and have rights over animals (more revolutionary). So where the first approach involves taking care of animals and ensuring they are happy and well-treated, whilst not ruling out the possibility of eating (some of) them at some point, the second embraces vegetarianism or veganism and in some cases even goes as far as seeing any use of animals (as pets or guide dogs for example) as ‘specieist’ and exploitative. That view will of course be too extreme for many, but does at least have the merit of encouraging us to think about our relations with animals and the small steps we could all take to be more aware, more mindful, kinder. Ahimsa is very much at the heart of yoga, whether in relation to human or non-human animals, and this issue endeavours to take a variety of perspectives on the question. Alexis Beddoe reminds us that vegetarianism or veganism are routes taken by many yogis who feel that it fits with their practice of ahimsa, whilst for others a different kind of diet feels ‘right’; Mark Biddiss also discusses the complexity of endeavouring to lead a ‘non-harming’ life; Manjulika Singh writes about her personal experience, whilst Sharon Gannon argues that veganism is the only way to fully practise ahimsa and respect the natural world. Thoughts on ways of living with animals rather than eating them are offered by Nicola Pazdzierska, from an innovative and aptlynamed business project ensuring that cows have a happy life; Nikki Biddiss reflects on the psychological benefits of both pets and wildlife and Eileen Kragie explains how Yin Yoga can bring us closer to the natural world and the animals on whom so many of the postures are modelled.

Once again views, on both the theme and on other subjects, come from within and outwith Yoga Scotland, from Scotland and from further afield, and if there is anything you wish to agree or disagree with, praise or criticise, please get in touch. Likewise do contact us should you wish to contribute to our January issue on the Ethics of Teaching Yoga, in which we would like all traditions and all perspectives to be represented. May ahimsa be at the heart of your autumn. Joy Charnley Editor

Cover photo Paulie Zink demonstrating Monkey pose. Photo by Maria Zink. Please send us any photos you have which depict any aspect of yoga.

Upcoming Themes Future issues will focus on the following themes. Your contributions (and suggestions of other themes you would like to see covered) are very welcome. January 2016 (deadline 15 November 2015): The Ethics of Teaching Yoga

Yoga Scotland Magazine Contacts Scotland Deadlines for advertising and editorial copy: 15 March (publication 1 May) 15 July (publication 1 September) 15 November (publication 1 January)

Editorial Address: Advertising address: Joy Charnley 34 Cromarty Avenue Glasgow G43 2HG

Maria Rawlings 6 Southwick Road Dalbeattie DG5 4BS

editor@yogascotland.org.uk

Tel: 07954 283966 maria@yogascotland.org.uk

Yoga Scotland magazine advertising rates also cover automatic inclusion on the Yoga Scotland website. Position Back Cover Inside front cover Inside back cover Full page Half page Quarter page Eighth page

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YS Member £90 £75 £75 £60 £40 £25 1st advert free £5 per advert thereafter £95

Payable at time of booking. 10% discount for full year’s booking (3 issues). © 2015 Yoga Scotland. All original articles in Yoga Scotland Magazine may be reproduced and circulated without prior permission being sought, provided acknowledgement is given to the author and Yoga Scotland. Printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. Disclaimer The views expressed in Yoga Scotland magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Yoga Scotland. We reserve the right to encourage the expression of a variety of views on subjects of interest to our members. No item should be taken as Yoga Scotland policy unless so stated. Design/artwork by Sue Grant 01848 200331

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View from the Chair Apparently some businesses welcome complaints because they give them a chance to find out how they are doing and make changes, and whilst I would not go quite that far, it is always good to hear from members, so do get in touch with either carrots or sticks, and I will definitely reply! In recent months there have been lots of meetings and journeys, plenty of opportunities to meet people and get views – at the AGM/Spring Seminar, at our holiday on Arran in June, at OGTs and through our online survey and emails – which all feed into what we are doing. As well as listening, our well-attended Spring Seminar and AGM gave us an opportunity to tell members more about the things that have been going on (work on the website, newsletters, connecting with other yoga organisations, changes to the magazine, trainee tutor scheme), plans currently in hand (review of finances, completing and publishing the Charter, starting a Foundation Course in Aberdeen, running the pilot Ayurveda course) and plans for the coming year (more communication, connection and collaboration). We also looked forward to the UN Day of Yoga on 21 June, which gave YS the chance to collaborate with the Indian Consulate in Edinburgh. None of the Scottish events quite gathered the 35,000 who were present in New Delhi, but some lovely days of yoga were organised throughout Scotland (Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway to name but a few) and money raised for charity, so thank you to all involved. Although here in Scotland yoga is resolutely non-political (unlike football!), sadly some concerns were expressed in India that there may be a ‘political’ agenda behind such initiatives, some seeing in it a ‘Hindu-bias’ and Christians asking why it was a happening on a Sunday (of course because of the Solstice). Let us hope though, that yoga can overcome such potentially divisive and dangerous issues and that the next edition (Tuesday 21 June 2016) will be an even greater success. Alongside the enjoyable public work of organising events and meeting members, the Executive Committee also spends a lot of time ensuring that we have in place the policies and procedures, subcommittees and financial arrangements that we need in order to function well. Although such aspects can often be seen as boringly bureaucratic, they are part of the greater professionalisation and modernisation we are seeking and do help everyone – members, course tutors, those who work for YS on a paid or non-paid basis – play their part more efficiently and smoothly. So in the coming months we will be doing more work in this area to bring increased clarity and smoother running on the administrative side, hopefully for the benefit of all. New recruits Maria and Elaine have already been doing fantastic work on all of this, so many thanks to them. Gratitude is also due to Yvonne Davies, who after a year of incredible commitment has stepped down as Events and Communications Coordinator due to the pressure of work. Thank you

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Yvonne and we hope to see you back on the Committee sometime in the future. In the meantime, all the very best for the rest of 2015, enjoy your yoga and, to quote the motto of the Urquhart clan and the town of Cromarty, ‘Meane weil, speak weil and doe weil’. Joy Charnley

Yoga Scotland Executive Committee Chairperson: Joy Charnley Email: joy@yogascotland.org.uk Treasurer: Teres Jones Email: treasurer@yogascotland.org.uk Secretary: Val Belk Email: secretary@yogascotland.org.uk Minutes Secretary: Kate Reilly Tel: 01899 220624 Email: kate@yogascotland.org.uk On-going Training Coordinator: Cathy Swan Email: ogt@yogascotland.org.uk Events & Communications Coordinator: Gill Gibbens Email: events@yogascotland.org.uk Magazine Editors: Joy Charnley and Judi Ritchie Email: editor@yogascotland.org.uk

Yoga Scotland General Enquiries

Telephone number 07954 283966

Contents 13 4 15 11 11 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 28 31 32 33 34 36 40

Editorial View from the Chair News and Views Thoughts for the Day From the Archives Meet the Chair Taking Yoga to our Marginalised ommunities The Push and Pull of Parenting Nurture Review Sound Bowls The Ahimsa Slaughter-free Dairy Yoga and Animals Swami Veda Bharati I Don’t Eat Creatures Yogic Cook Asanas on the Algarve Soul Power Yin Yoga Desert island Yoga A Walk on the Wildside Living with our Relatives Arran Weekend Reviews Detoxification with Yoga and Healing Herbs


Yoga SCOTLAND

News and Views Yoga teachers come together on UN International Yoga Day to raise funds for Nepal Yoga teachers from across Dumfries and Galloway combined forces to raise money for the Sri Aurobindo orphanage in Nepal after the two earthquakes there destroyed most of its buildings. On Sunday 21 June, the UN’s International Yoga Day, 44 local yoga enthusiasts gathered at Dalbeattie Town Hall to enjoy a range of practices from experienced teachers. The total raised is over £1600 and could well be a lot more once the final sums have been done. Yoga teacher Carol Godridge has worked at the Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir orphanage and said, ’This is a wonderful place for destitute children, and so much work has gone into the building and development of accommodation, schoolrooms and training workshops over the last few years. All destroyed in just a few minutes. Despite this the volunteers there are working, not only to care for the children, but also to help with the rescue work for the local village. Every day brings more children newlyorphaned to their doors.’

The first earthquake caused massive damage to about three quarters of their buildings, but Swami Ramchandra Das, who runs the orphanage, wrote to supporters after the second earthquake and said, ‘Luckily no one was injured, but this earthquake took a further toll on our buildings. While we were running for our lives, we could see bricks and chunks of walls falling from the upper floors of the kitchen complex. Today’s tremor had increased the magnitude of the damages already caused earlier, with widening of cracks and adding many more. We were deeply frightened at the sight of the cowshed and boys’ dorm complex, which was shaking more violently than ever, our hearts lost all hopes as we thought this would be the last moment we could see that building standing. Luckily we had moved all the boys to temporary shelter until repair/reconstruction. Today’s major earthquake has rendered this building completely unsafe to reside, as it may come down any time. We have lost a complete 4-storey building with a total floor space of 5000 square metres. And with this we are at a serious need for a proper shade for our cows, the pashmina workshop and rooms for the boys to live in. The remaining structure will have to be destroyed and a new one constructed in this place. The mill and the reception building that were unscathed during the last

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Photo: Val Bissland

earthquake have suffered quite a lot of damage this time. Severe cracks on the walls are prominent on both buildings as well as some of their walls have dislodged from their original position. Repairing all these buildings is now an additional task.’ If you could not attend the yoga day, but still wish to donate, you can pay into this account: code 16-58-10 account 20141556 with the reference Sri Aurobindo. See also http://www.auronepal.net A second yoga fund-raising day for Nepal is being planned for August 29th at Lincluden Community Centre.

Living Yoga Study Group 2015

For more detailed information on Yoga Scotland membership, regional events, classes, training courses and more, visit our website: www.yogascotland.org.uk

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Photo: Joy Charnley

Glasgow 2013-2015 Teacher Training Course

Spring Seminar and AGM, April 2015

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Photo: Gary the janitor

Dumfries Foundation Course

Thank you Although we now have some paid workers at YS and they are vital to the running of the organisation, we could not function without the time and energy of our wonderful volunteer trustees. At the AGM Leah Lyon stepped down from her post as Treasurer after six years on the Executive Committee and Karen Nimmo stepped down after serving three years. Both continue to help us informally during this transition period (Leah with finances and Karen with the Charter), for which we are very grateful. After a very demanding, full-on year as Events and Communications Coordinator, Yvonne Davies has also decided to leave the committee to focus on work and study commitments. Once again, thank you for all the enthusiasm, energy and drive you have brought to YS and all the very best. Of course the more of us there are, the more the work can be shared‌ So if you can help out in any small way or have skills to offer, please get in touch. Support for the Events Coordinator, HRM experience and designer skills (the logo needs a refresh) would be particularly welcome! Thank you.

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Ongoing Training 2015/16 YS is keen to give more electronic options for those who wish to use them, whilst continuing to offer more traditional methods such as cheques and post, and so the OGT programme was sent out by email this year, forms being returned either by email or through the post. Payments can be made by cheque, BACS or online through PayPal. Any teacher without an email address should have received a paper copy in the post, but if you have not had one, please get in touch with Maria and she will send one out. Thanks.

Catherine Brzeski The Yoga Scotland community is saddened to hear of the death of Catherine, a Perthshire teacher who died on May 25 at the very young age of 54. Our thoughts are with all her family and friends. If desired, donations in her memory can be made to Scottish Mountain Rescue via: www.Justgiving.com/CathBrzeski


Yoga SCOTLAND

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Yoga SCOTLAND

EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS YOGA ASSOCIATION (ELYA)

1975-2015

Forty years of organising Yoga Workshops! Join us for the remaining events in 2015 to celebrate ELYA’s 40th Anniversary ‘CELEBRATE LIFE WITH YOGA’ is our theme for this year Sat 5 September 2015 with Adam Shepherd

Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm Venue: Wester Hailes Education Centre, 5 Murrayburn Drive, Edinburgh, EH14 2SU Cost: £25 (ELYA members) £28 (all others) (includes hot vegetarian lunch)

Sat 31 October 2015 with Carol Godridge a joint Celebration event with BWY Scotland

Time: 10.00am-4.00pm Venue: Wester Hailes Education Centre, 5 Murrayburn Drive, Edinburgh, EH14 2SU Cost: £24 (BWY & ELYA members), £28 (all others) (includes hot vegetarian lunch)

The theme for 2016 is ‘Listening to the inner voice’ and we are currently working on a schedule of events Further details on the website: www.elya.org.uk for enquiries or to reserve a place: phone/text ELYA mobile 0758 4668027 or email elyabooking@gmail.com Our seminars are suitable for ALL levels of experience

Roots2Yoga Feldenkrais for Yoga with Daniel Gelblum Saturday and Sunday 21st/22nd November 10am-4pm Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh EH9 1BB Daniel Gelblum is a highly skilled Feldenkrais practitioner and BWY teacher. He has created a unique style of exercises to enhance well being, general health, self-awareness and deep relaxation. Daniel will guide you through the workshop, combining a series of Feldenkrais sequences with familiar yoga postures, bringing awareness to the connections between the neck, shoulders, back and hips, increasing flexibility and strength and helping you improve your postures with surprising ease. £60 for one day/£110 for both. To book or for more information, contact Linda Shand on 07803 523781 or email linda.shand@btinternet.com 10


Yoga SCOTLAND

Thoughts for the Day

Books, articles, websites Matthew Crawford, The World Beyond your Head (Penguin: 2015)

Don’t Hesitate

Sena Desai Gopal, ‘Selling the Sacred Cow. India’s Contentious Beef Industry’, The Atlantic, 12 February 2015.

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

The June issue of New Internationalist (www.newint.org) contains articles entitled ‘Captive of their own myths’ (attitudes to the consumption of beef in India) and ‘Can eating meat and dairy products be sustainable?’ Pascal Rémy and Jean Lecointre, Vous les avez aimés, mangezles (Editions de l’Epure) http://theluminescent.blogspot.co.uk/ www.meat-abolition.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_slaughter_in_India

Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (Beacon Press, 2012)

Reminder

Send us your Questions!

Articles should be sent to the Editor (Judi/Joy) and adverts to Maria by the deadline (dates in the magazine or on the website). Ads should be submitted as email attachments, in the format/lay-out you wish. We are endeavouring to improve the look of the magazine, so anything you can do to make your ad look more ‘professional’ will be welcome.

You may be a yoga teacher, an experienced practitioner or someone who has just recently started to attend a yoga class, but whoever you are we would like to receive any questions you may have about any aspect of yoga. We will then do our best to get responses from some of our senior teachers. We look forward to hearing from you.

From the Archives Time and Motion (Eastern Style) Did you make any resolutions at the beginning of this year? And do you still stick to them? Or are you slightly disappointed that – once again – you fell back to your old ‘bad’ habits? And do you promise yourself ‘next time it will work! If this had not happened, or if that had not happened, I would not have given in. But next time…’? Yes, maybe next time, but then maybe not. So what about giving some thought to the real ‘why’ you gave up your good intentions? Did you check on what your resolutions were based? Were they based on true facts about yourself? Or on ‘this is how I like to see myself and such a person can stick to this or that discipline’? Have you ever heard the story of Nasreddin Khoja who once lived in Turkey? It sums it up nicely I think. One fine morning Nasreddin Khoja was chopping wood by the side of the road leading to the village of Akshehir. As he was doing so, a man came walking along the road. Seeing Khoja, he called ‘Can you tell me how long it will take me to get to Akshehir?’ Khoja stopped his activities, looked up, but did not answer. Therefore the man called again and this time a bit louder, ‘Can you tell me how long it will take me to get to Akshehir?’ But again he got no reply. For a third time the man repeated his question, shouting this time ‘Hey, can you tell me how long it will take me to get to Akshehir?’ Yet all he met with was silence. Thereupon the man shrugged his shoulders and thought, ‘this woodchopper must be either deaf or dumb’ and hurriedly walked on in the direction of Akshehir. Nasreddin Khoja looked after him for a moment and then called out, ‘It will take you about an hour!’ ‘Why didn’t you tell me that before?’ the man asked angrily. ‘First of all I had to know how fast you were going to walk, didn’t I?’ replied Khoja. So let us get back to the good old practice of yoga and see what we can really find out about ourselves. I. Elders-Laatsch First published in Karma (vol 17, 1988), the final issue produced by SYA.

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Yoga as Therapy Two separate but linked days for students or teachers with

Fiona Ashdown Saturday 24 October 2015 Back Health Sunday 25 October 2015 Insomnia and Migraine Each day will be a mix of theory and practice Fiona Ashdown is a yoga therapist and has studied extensively with TKV Desikachar, including a four-year Yoga Therapy course. This involved month long internships at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai observing 1-1 lessons. The lectures and practices this weekend will be based on her studies there. Venue:

Greenpark Community Centre, Polmont FK2 0PZ

Cost:

£40 per day £70 for both days

Time:

10.00 – 17.00 Information & bookings

Ann Hunter 54 Underwood Road, Burnside, Glasgow, G73 3TF 0141 647 1817 ann@athunter.plus.com 12


Yoga SCOTLAND

Meet the Chair… of the Yoga Fellowship of Northern Ireland – Lisa Copeland YS: Can you tell us a little about YFNI and your work as Chair?

If there is any free time after that I love to garden and hillwalk.

Lisa Copeland: YFNI is a not-for-profit u m b r e l l a organisation promoting, supporting and training yoga teachers in Northern Ireland for over 40 years. We are recognised by Sport NI as the lead body for yoga in Northern Ireland and we are also a member of the Yoga Federation of Ireland, the British Wheel of Yoga and the British Council for Yoga Therapy. I am Chair of our voluntary committee which works (tirelessly!) organising events bringing yoga tutors from Ireland, the UK, Europe and beyond, as well as designing and running teacher training courses and generally promoting interest in yoga as far and wide as we can.

Lisa: I don’t have one as I never seem to finish any! Seriously though, the one that most impressed me was Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, both fascinating and inspirational.

YS: What do you see as the main challenges currently facing YFNI? Lisa: In these times of austerity and intense business competition we increasingly face challenges both in terms of attracting trainee teachers to our courses and in terms of promoting our yoga days and CPD events. Having said that, we have stood the test of time and can see some green shoots of recovery! YS: Can you tell us a little about your family background and formative years? Lisa: I come from a normal working-class family and grew up in Belfast at the height of the ‘Troubles’. In spite of this or perhaps because of it, the school which I attended decided to run yoga classes for us girls (it was an all-girl Catholic school run by a Dominican Order of nuns). They said this was to help us with exam stress but looking back it was designed to help us cope with what was happening on the streets of Belfast at that time. This, together with Buddhism teachings as part of our religious education, was forwardthinking for anyone at that time never mind nuns in Catholic west Belfast! It worked and I have been hooked ever since… YS: What are your main interests and hobbies outside Yoga? Lisa: I am a town planner by profession and just recently have taken up a full-time lecturing post at Queen’s University. This, together with my two young boys and helping out on the committee keeps me well out of mischief.

YS: What is your favourite Yoga book?

YS: A Yoga practice or posture you find particularly beneficial? Lisa: For me it is always Vajrasana. I call it my ‘coming home’ posture and I am convinced this is the posture, when all is said and done, I will be in when I exit this life. YS: A Yoga teacher you find or have found inspiring? Lisa: My first serious yoga teacher and our current YFNI president Frank Moylan. He is older than he would care to reveal and is a sheer powerhouse of energy, happiness and clarity of mind. YS: What would you most like to see happen within the UK Yoga community and how might it be achieved? Lisa: More synergy between all the many and varied groups that are out there. We are at heart all doing the same thing – helping people to make sense of the world and tune into the inner peace and wisdom we ALL carry. How to do that is another matter… YS: Three words that sum up Yoga for you? Lisa: Love, light and peace. YS: Cat or dog? Lisa: Cat every time! I love dogs and I am never happier than when around them but in yoga the cat posture suits me perfectly…funny that, how opposites attract! YS: Many thanks.

Be Moved………………………………

We will explore how we are moved from the yoga mat up to our feet ‐ moving inwards and outwards in the space. We will be danced, with music and without, and come to rest on our mats, with breath and awareness of how we are in the moment. Join June Mercer (yoga teacher) and Sarena Wolfaard (5Rhythms teacher and Open Floor Apprentice) in 3 hours of embodied movement. On 21st November in Abbotsgrange Church Hall, Grangemouth, 10:00‐13:00 To book: Email June at june@junesyoga.com

For more information on 5Rhythms and Open Floor www.movetobestill.com For more information on June’s Yoga wwwjunesyoga.com Facebook junesyoga

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Taking Yoga to our Marginalised Communities in Scotland by Laura Wilson As the far-reaching benefits of yoga become mainstream knowledge, recognition that those in less privileged positions may greatly benefit from the practice has become a growing aspirational focus for many teachers. As the founder of Edinburgh Community Yoga, an organisation with a core aim to ensure yoga and meditation are accessible for all in society, I have been aware for some time that a shift is happening within the yoga community in Scotland. Teachers and organisations are seeking to work with more marginalised and hard-to-reach communities. With the anecdotal benefits of yoga for mental health, addiction recovery, eating disorders, long-term health conditions, PTSD etc. being backed up with scientific research on an almost a daily basis, and the successes of the inroads in this area already being made across Scotland, it is clear that there is much work to be done. And so in the belief that working together, sharing knowledge and aspirations may allow us to move more quickly and more effectively, I proposed in May this year, to hold the very first ‘Edinburgh Community Yoga thinktank’. It was billed as ‘A chance for yoga and body/mind practitioners, mental health and social care professionals to put their heads together; to share ideas, contacts and experiences, in the hope that we can reach more vulnerable and at-risk groups in Edinburgh and even across Scotland.’ Of course this is not a new idea; teachers have been taking yoga into marginalised communities, adapting their practice and teaching styles to support their students’ specific needs for a very long time. Indeed, there have been small pockets of therapeutic application in the UK since the practice arrived, lone teachers and yoga therapists quietly, diligently sharing their knowledge for the good of the most vulnerable. But a real shift towards the US therapeutic yoga model that reaches mass populations is relatively new and unexplored in Scotland. There are of course exceptions, such as the ‘Prison Phoenix Trust’ whose pioneering work spans almost three decades, and the relatively new advent of organisations such as ‘KICC Active’ and ‘Yogability’ to name a few. But what appears to me to be new, and causing the shift, is the power and momentum the yoga community is gathering to reach these populations. In attempting to further the impact of ECY I have been lucky enough to have had meetings with teachers and students alike, all who have a sense that taking these practices of pranayama, asana and meditation to those without the means to access yoga is not only a privilege but also an obligation. From this exploration, I started to

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recognise that throughout Scotland there are satellites of activity developing new ways of delivering and engaging vulnerable people, and that a central hub in which to gather and guide this momentum may be a useful tool to build on the work already being done. On 2 May 2015 we came together – teachers, trainers, care professionals, medics, psychologists, psychiatrists, movement therapists and even a shiatsu practitioner. All with a sense that a) yoga has something to offer and b) there are communities with needs that are not being met. We heard experiences from teachers working within the mental health service, prisons, with individuals that have eating disorders, long-term health conditions and drug use, and those teaching children and adolescents. With so many different areas covered, why did we need to meet? Was the work not already being done? The answer is simple, because ‘we as individuals’ do not have the power of ‘we as a community’. With this in mind, the collective agreed on a shared vision to develop this work further. a) Teachers interested in this work should be supported with appropriate training, mentoring and supervision. b) People working within the medical or care professions should be able to advise their service users where they can access mind/body practices. c) Funding opportunities must be accessible to support the professional delivery of the practice across Scotland. It was clear from the workshop that there is no single solution to the vast and wide-ranging social issues Scotland currently faces. It was also clear that there is most certainly a place for using the knowledge and therapeutic application of yogic and other mindful and mind/body practices in order to address some of these issues. Furthermore there is much enthusiasm, skill and knowledge which must be cleverly harnessed in order to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in society, in the most responsible, ethical but impactful way possible. And so this was very much the beginning of something I envisage growing and developing over many years. As a group we agreed we need a vehicle from which to communicate, a network of some kind and the recentlystarted not-for-profit social enterprise ‘Edinburgh Community Yoga Outreach’ may prove to be the vehicle to develop this work further. There is much to do, and much to organise, but with such a strong team sharing the same vision, the sky really is the limit. For more information or to be involved in this exciting new project please contact laura@edinburghcommunityyoga.co.uk You can also watch our short film at https://vimeo.com/119646095


Yoga SCOTLAND

The Push and Pull of Parenting Nurture – Surrendering Resistance to our Children by Naomi Chunilal You’ve been up most of the night trying to settle a restless baby. And now waking up at dawn, you could easily go back to sleep for one hundred years. Except that your beloved baby is stirring and starting to grumble in their cot. Or else, maybe your toddler has marched into your bedroom at 5 am, insisting on dressing the cat up in their pyjamas. There are times when however hard we try to feel upbeat about our parenting role, we honestly are not! And we may look wistfully back to our previous life of unbroken sleep patterns, weekend lie-ins, uninterrupted phone calls and meals and leisurely baths, when we could call time our own. As most new parents soon discover, nothing can prepare you for the life-changing reality of nurturing and caring for another small human being around the clock, without much respite. Suddenly your whole world is turned inside-out, and you are swept along in a new regime of sleepless nights, feeding upon demand, and fulfilling this small person’s needs before your own. For most of us, alongside the joy and bliss of falling in love with our child, it’s not always easy! We may encounter physical and emotional resistance in many shapes and forms throughout our parenting life – sometimes as just a sharp twinge of irritation when our child distracts us and we miss the climax of a gripping TV

programme. At other times, we come up against the boundaries of our tolerance and endurance levels, like crashing into a brick wall. We don’t want to be a reluctant parent or give anything less than our best to our offspring, but sometimes we push away the bits about looking after them that we don’t like. It’s not about loving our children, because of course we do. But to put it frankly, we don’t always enjoy being around them! And we don’t always appreciate the sometimes mundane, tedious routine of daily childcare. We can fall off our pedestal of parenting ideals and values, sink towards rock bottom, and seriously wonder if we have anything positive left to give out. In yogic terms, we tend to experience attraction or raga towards the good moments in our parenting role, when we connect, engage and respond easily with our children. You find delight in your baby’s presence as you hold them in your arms, watch their limbs stretch out in sleep, feel the soft touch of their skin against your own, and your heart flows out to meet them. We then aspire to pull these happy feelings close towards us. Yet as the scenario changes, so do our emotions. Your baby might become fractious and unsettled, the toddler throws lunch on the floor, and your teenager leaves a trail of mess around the house. So we start to suffer

British B ritish Wheel Wheel o of fY Yoga oga P Pregnancy regnancy Mo Module dule Tutor: Tu tor: J Judy udy C Cameron ameron open open to aallll te teachers achers w who ho w wish ish to sspecialise p ec ia li s e in in a uunique nique aapproach pproach to ppreparing reparing w women omen fo forr childbirth childbirth

In the the Moment, Moment, 72 72 B Berkeley erkeley S Street, treet, Glasgow Glasgow G G33 77DS DS 30/31 30/31 JJanuary; anuary; 22/3 /3 A April pril & 18/19 18/19 JJune une 22016 0 16 C Cost: ost: £630 Fo Forr bbookings ookings aand nd m more ore iinformation nformation pplease lease ccontact ontact JJudy udy oon: n: ccameron.judy@yahoo.com ameron.judy@yahoo.com www.yogaofbirth.co.uk www.yogaofbirth.co.uk

M Mobile: obile: 00779 779 2207 07 99389 389

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Yoga SCOTLAND dislike or dvesha, struggling with difficult thoughts and feelings, as we react against the challenge of integrating another human being fully into our lives. We can transform the backdrop of our family life into a spiritual catalyst for inner growth. The yogic practice of nonviolence or ahimsa is to live and breathe compassion. Showing empathy towards ourselves, when our inner reserves are down. The starting point is kindness, especially when life falls short of our expectations. To acknowledge how we may judge and criticise ourselves, creating a schism between how we want life to be, and what it actually is. It’s easy to be gentle, kind and forgiving when life is flowing smoothly and we are feeling the good and uplifting bits about having a child. Yet it’s far more difficult to accept the other side when nothing seems to fit into our ideas of how we want our parenting life to be. We might flare up in anger, feel doubt and guilt, and keep telling ourselves that we should really try to be like this or that. We may become so busy trying to become a better, nicer, person that we actually forget to get to know the innate goodness and divinity of our true nature – the essence of who we are. When you shut your eyes and listen to the flow of your thoughts and emotions, observe the quality and feeling tone of this inner dialogue. Notice how you perceive the world around you, and the role you choose to project out in the world. As we become mindful of how we relate towards ourselves, we can find contentment or santosha, as we learn to appreciate and enjoy what is already abundant in our lives. Listen to your heart’s wisdom. Use your breath to lead you into inner stillness, creating fresh inner space inside you to fill up with nurture, truth and consideration. Even when things don’t work out as you want. As you surrender to what is, you become more conscious

of how you choose to play out your parenting role, in relation to your children. Your perspective expands to witness things that you might have missed before. You can see beyond personal limitations, noticing the sky stretching out above you. Sure, you might never relish all of your parenting responsibilities, especially in the early hours of the morning: sleep deprivation is a form of torture after all in some countries! Yet you no longer strive to push away or change these experiences, embracing your life as it is, rather than wanting it to be something else. This leads you to find living truth or satya, as you become receptive to the true nature of who you are. You become aware of the boundless nature of love, compassion and contentment already within you, through the simple art of being present to this. Each day now is an opportunity to enjoy life through fresh, childlike eyes, witnessing your family’s lives reflected within your own. Together. You can live each moment as a choice. You know that the stars come out at night. So now when night turns into day, you can lift your mind, turn your head and look up to experience them shining above you, connecting you back to your heart and the universe around you. You are no longer alone. Naomi Chunilal is the author of The Mindful Mother: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Enjoying Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond with Mindfulness (Watkins Publishing, 2015). She is a British Wheel of Yoga and meditation teacher in south-west England, where she teaches heart yoga classes and workshops (leading the mind and body into greater stillness and finding mindfulness of what is). A complementary therapist and healer, she works at North Devon Hospice and runs a private practice. For more information, contact Naomi at www.yogadevon.com

Review The Mindful Mother by Naomi Chunilal Watkins Publishing, 2015 The book is written in bite-sized chapters, and perhaps an expectant mother would read the book through whilst a new mother might dip into a relevant chapter. It deals mostly with pregnancy and the first months of m o t h e r h o o d , acknowledging the real and unremitting challenges of those first months. Postpartum, the book swings between the joys and horrors and then tells the reader how to cope. Personally as a new mother I would have been tearing this book apart page by

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page and immolating it ritually had I had enough energy in that time of total sensory deprivation. Once through the new baby stage, the book once more seesaws between extremes of stay-at-home mumness and full-time working mumness. Useful advice gleaned includes: this too shall pass, keep breathing, be grateful and be in the moment, but perhaps it shouldn't really have taken 271 pages to say that? Would I give this book to my daughter I wonder? I approached this book from the mature end of motherhood, and found it very thought-provoking. It definitely encouraged reflection and rueful acknowledgement of past actions, thoughts and feelings, encouraging me to be less critical of my mothering skills. Much of the book is keenly observed, and motherhood’s joys and frustrations obviously don’t change through the years. Judi Ritchie


Yoga SCOTLAND

Scottish Charity No SC016624

A WEEKEND OF YOGA WITH JOHN STIRK (Author of a new book ‘The Original Body: Deepening Practice for the Teaching of Yoga’ ­ available August 2015)

‘Primal Movement – the Physiological Experience of Yoga’ John Stirk has been teaching Yoga for 40 years. He graduated as an osteopath in 1983 at the College of Osteopaths in London, subsequently lectured in Bio­Mechanics and Practical Osteopathy and was made a fellow of the college in 1995. The influence of R.D.Laing, with whom he ran body/mind workshops, B.K.S. Iyengar, Vanda Scaravelli with whom he had personal tuition for several years and J. Krisnamurti has confirmed his belief in finding it in and for oneself. Consequently his style of teaching Yoga emphasises an enquiry into how one is during and after physical practice.

Saturday, 3rd October 2015 10.00am to 4.00pm Cults Kirk Centre, Cults, Aberdeen AB15 9TD (hot drinks provided, please bring a light packed lunch)

Sunday, 4th October 2015 9.45am to 3.45pm Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre, Fraserburgh AB43 9TH (food/drinks not permitted at the centre but can be purchased at the café) Costs: £50 (£60 non GYA members) for both days or £25 (£30 non GYA members) per day Bookings by email to Gordon Edward on gyaseminar@outlook.com For further information on GYA please go to our website: www.grampianyoga.org.uk

A WEEKEND OF YOGA WITH DAVE CHARLTON OF SADHANA MALA (publishers of the Funky Guru books)

‘The 3 Gunas in Our Practice – equilibrium (sattva), activity (rajas) and inertia (tamas)' This description of the three gunas comes from Bernard Bouanchaud's book "Yoga" on his discussion on yoga sutra 11.15.

Saturday, 16th April 2016 10.00am to 4.00pm Cults Kirk Centre, Cults, Aberdeen AB15 9TD (hot drinks provided, please bring a light packed lunch)

Sunday, 17th April 2016 9.45am to 3.45pm Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre, Fraserburgh AB43 9TH (food/drinks not permitted at the centre but can be purchased at the café) Costs: £50 (£60 non GYA members) for both days or £25 (£30 non GYA members) per day Bookings by email to Gordon Edward on gyaseminar@outlook.com For further information on GYA please go to our website: www.grampianyoga.org.uk GYA aims to offer yoga to all. Individuals who are restricted financially, or in other ways, may apply for support when booking.

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Sound Bowls by Wendy Turnbull

Albert Einstein said, ‘We are all vibration’. Quantum physics tells us we are all energy. We’ve all been moved by pieces of music. A high note can shatter a wine glass. In the Vedas they used sound as weapons. I fell in love with the sound bowl massage from the first treatment. Hearing the tones of the bowls and feeling the vibrations travel through my body. It synched my brainwaves to a deep meditative state. Afterwards I felt relaxed, cleansed, harmonised, at peace. Three Tibetan singing bowls are used. These bowls are, individually and together, placed on the body. The bowls are gently struck to produce their beautiful sound, overtones resonating around the body. Nadis are cleared. Chakras are tuned. The mind is relaxed. At ‘Light Spirit’ in Bali, I had also found a wonderful teacher, Patrizius. A pure soul of beneficence. He shared his techniques and his wisdom with me.

The sound is beautiful, the bowls golden. Handmade on auspicious days and blessed by a Hindu priest. My bowls were my teacher’s travelling bowls. I carry some of his wisdom with me when I use them. And they have travelled with me around Asia and Central America. And have come to rest with me back in Aberdeen. On the quantum level everything is vibrating. Albert Einstein said, ‘We are all vibration’. Quantum physics tells us we are all energy. Little packets of energy wavering between wave and particle. The atoms in our cells are constantly vibrating. We know that waves of different frequencies will start to resonate with each other. The cells in the body start to harmonise with one another. On an energetic level, I believe that the chakras take whatever frequency they need from the vibrations of the bowls to enable them to come back into balance. I can hear the note of the bowl changing as I continue sounding the bowl on a particular chakra. There are techniques to cleanse and enhance the chakras. On a biological level I think the sound of the bowls lulls your brainwaves into the slower alpha and theta rhythms seen in states of relaxation and meditation. Allowing the mind to relax like this helps us to better deal with emotions and challenges when they arise. It also aids concentration and focus. It helps us build strength and stamina for when we need it.

The right side of your brain is the moon brain The seat of imagination, poetry, love and intuition. The moon shines in darkness, loves darkness, the night.

Let’s celebrate the moon and the darkness of this winter time to balance the flickering lights of the Christmas festivities

A DAY of YOGA

Saturday 28 November 10am – 4pm St Mary’s Church Hall, Largs

£35 (including homemade organic lunch) For more information or to register please contact Joanna on

Tel 07518 373 073 Email info@birsayholistics.co.uk www.facebook.com/pages/Birsay-Holistics 18


Yoga SCOTLAND

Practising Ahimsa: The Ahimsa Slaughter-free Dairy: Paving the Way for a Dairy Revolution Photos:Walter Lewis and Krishna-Mayi Ferreira

by Nicola Pazdzierska

The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation, an entirely slaughter-free, not-for-profit organisation, launched in 2011, bringing a new and wholly ethical dimension to dairy farming in Britain. The planning and gestation period for the Dairy took many years though. It was conceived back in 2007 when Sanjay Tanna and Nicola Pazdzierska, now co-directors, decided something must be done about the cruelty in the modern dairy industry. A cow can live twenty years, but today she is lucky to make her fifth birthday without being faced with the indignity and horror of the slaughter house. As soon as she starts to give less milk, becomes infertile or lame, she is dispatched. Male calves invariably fare even worse. They are seen as a by-product of the industry and hundreds of thousands are either killed soon after birth or end up on people’s dinner tables as slices of veal. We passionately believed this was no way to repay the generosity of a cow for all of the good things she has given, and the sad fate meted out to bull calves is nothing less than a crime against nature, so we resolved to take action. At first, together with a committed group of volunteers, we began an awareness-raising campaign about the welfare of cows. This resulted in many people wishing to buy ethicallysourced milk, but the team could not offer a solution other than to only buy organic milk. That offers generally better welfare, but still involves the slaughter of cows and bull calves. We were hugely inspired by the care given to cows at the Hare Krishna Temple near Watford, Herts. There all cows are cared for throughout their lives until their natural end, and step-by-step a plan began to develop to launch our own

slaughter-free dairy. A serendipitous meeting with the former head of the Soil Association, Patrick Holden, and the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCO) led to an introduction to Commonwork, a large organic farm in Kent, and after some discussion we entered into partnership with the farm. Ahimsa means non-violence and the first principle of our Foundation was that there should be no slaughter of cows or bull calves. This was the goal we worked for in our first few years. Commonwork had no space for retired cows or bull calves and we managed to find pasture for them with a friend on the coast in Wales, but beautiful though it was, it was too far to travel from our base near London. Then someone in Leicester offered us land at a peppercorn rent and so we moved all but the milking cows there. Today all of our retired cows and young oxen live there. The plan is to train the boys as working oxen and following the appointment of an expert bull-driver from Hungary that training is now in progress. Meanwhile, much as we were grateful to Commonwork for the wonderful cows they bred for us, we were unhappy that calves could only spend a short time with their mothers and that the farm required us to put our cows in calf every year. In order to manage our herd size and put less stress on our cows, we only wanted them to be pregnant every two to four years. Eventually we decided we wanted to go it alone and run our dairy operation entirely to our own Ahimsa standards.

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Yoga SCOTLAND When we first started we had very little capital and friends loaned us money to buy separate tanks and pipes, and we have been paying them back in milk. Now we needed to raise money to move our whole operation to Leicester. We launched a crowd-funding appeal asking for £30,000. It was less money than we needed, but we thought it a realistic target and after a lot of hard work supporting the appeal, we reached our target at midnight on New Year’s Eve 2014. The land at Leicester had very little infrastructure and the funds enabled us to put up new fences, buy shelters for the animals and much-needed equipment. We also had money in hand to move the milking cows there, which we will start doing in summer 2015. However, the farm has public access, and problems with security and people leaving rubbish have convinced us we need to find land elsewhere in the long term. For now we are planning to launch a vegetable box scheme later in the year and are busy planting seeds and chasing away curious and potentially destructive cows – they have already broken into the spring cabbage field. So from a point where we wanted to improve life for cows, we are now the proud owners of a small herd. Every

cow has a name, the girls are mostly named after English and Indian flowers, and we know everyone’s personalities and foibles. They are a happy gang and like nothing better than investigating what we are up to and what we are working on. They send scouts – generally our red cow Primrose – to come and spy on us and then report back. The milking cows supply customers in North London and parts of Hertfordshire and we also sell cheese and yoghurt online, something that is increasing in popularity with our lovely customers. We are utterly committed to being slaughter-free and envisage a long and happy life for all of our animals. Cows are highly intelligent, they have good memories and like to problem-solve. It is so tragic that in today’s dairy industry thousands never even get to run around on the grass and are cooped up indoors all year long during a short and miserable life. They are literally milked to death and then disposed of as soon as they become less productive. Gandhi once said that to him the cow represented the entire non-human world and through her, humans are enjoined to realise their connection with all that lives. That is a good thought to hold. http://www.ahimsamilk.org/

Practising Ahimsa: Yoga and Animals: Treating and Eating by Alexis Beddoe Vegetarianism is regarded as a common feature of a yogic lifestyle, and vegetarianism is usually (though not exclusively) associated with a particular care for animals. But vegetarianism and yoga aside, given the obvious biological holocaust that mankind has inflicted, and is inflicting, on Earth, any ethical/aesthetic attitude to life necessarily requires a considered relationship to all of Earth-nature, not least to animals and the consumption thereof. To build a ‘right’ relationship in this regard, I would offer these thoughts. It is worth noting that the word ‘animal’ is etymologically derived from the Latin ‘anima’, meaning breath/spirit/vital principle/life/soul and that the word ‘anima’ was used by Plato in Timaeus (Anima Mundi: the World Soul). Wikipedia compares the meaning of ‘Anima Mundi’ with the BrahmanAtman relationship, as well as with the Buddha Nature, Taoism, Confucianism and more modern philosophers’ views, up to the scientific Gaia hypothesis. So given that to be an animal is to have life grounded in breath/soul/spirit, to have a proper attitude to animals – and that most definitely including the animal that is the human – IS pranayama, IS yoga. And it is perhaps no coincidence that most asanas are named after animals, the position of the body copying theirs and reawakening elements of anima developed over aeons of evolutionary history and secreted into the human body. So should we as yoga practitioners avoid eating animals? Apart from the view that an over-consumption of food, not least protein, leads to illness, for many a more vegetarian diet bestows a more settled mind. But this does not determine what is right for all and anyone. So permit me to propose another approach to the question. Take the words of Christ, ‘Do unto others as you would they do unto you’, and apply it to the animal kingdom. On the face of it, no animal wants to

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die; so how could this ethical stance leave any scope for the animal to be killed and eaten? This is where the yogic mind, rather than compelling to vegetarianism, should liberate the choice process. For with such a mind, one is able first to open ‘one’self up to the truth that ‘I’ don’t know who ‘I’ am, or what ‘I am’ is. And second, one comes to acknowledge that the job the apparently knowing ‘I’ has in this body on this planet is to cultivate conditions in which the mysterious ‘I’ that for ever ‘am’, no matter what its habitation’s transient conditions, has the capacity to realise itself. This is to undertake a practice of dying which relieves the self of at least some of the painful weights of the ego that thinks it thinks, and therefore thinks it is and thinks it knows itself. And this practice cultivates the very capacity that separates the human from the animal: the human being the animal that is able to self-reflect to the extent of self-negation. Now let’s get back to the animal. Cast the yogic imagination – with its capacity to transfer conscious awareness – into a field where you, the human, has made direct eye contact with, say, a cow. You transfer into the consciousness of the cow which is gazing at the human who is gazing at you. With impersonal anima-contact that you, now as animal, have (of course not necessarily consciously so), you are able to appreciate that that human, if able to negate its personal will and its personal will to life, is indeed the higher evolved form; a form that is able to make space for divine entrance and the self-acknowledging truth of its existence as the changeless within permanent change; that which ‘I am’ inescapably is. Then, while you the animal do not particularly want to die, the anima within knows this to be an excellent opportunity for at least an element of its essence to be transferred into a higher form and participate more fully in the evolutionary


Yoga SCOTLAND process towards cosmic-consciousness and divine selfrealisation. Still difficult to grasp? Then with your consciousness back in its personal human selfhood, try this. Assume that there is a higher evolutionary being than you the human; one that is still a child of Earthnature but that has greater capacity to cultivate the conditions that enable the cosmos to become conscious of itself. Then know (as you certainly do) that you will die one day anyway, and this advanced evolutionary being is offering you an opportunity to play a greater conscious participatory role in that realisation by consuming you. In other words, the being actually needs you for it, and for you – as you both transitionally are – to come consciously closer to the ‘I am’ that you eternally are. This, by the way, might be considered a logical description of those who have willingly and wilfully died for Christ, who, in his own mortal historical manifestation, likewise did for him’Self’. Well the ego might still object; rare indeed is the ego that can escape such vital self-protection mechanisms. But I do know that in moments of stillness, in the imaginary circumstance described above, ‘my’ death (which is no more ‘mine’ than is ‘my’ life) is exactly what ‘I’, ‘would they do unto [me]’; and it all seems to make perfect sense. Let me emphasise that this is not a carnivorous carte blanche. It is but a view that might facilitate an understanding of what might be ‘right’ for you. Besides, etymological associations of the word animal, i.e. that with breath and life and that which is manifestation of the one life force, can be applied to plants. Even a vegan or vegetarian takes that force from an apparent other, for absorption into a different self, so the difference between killing a plant and killing an animal is not one of essence, just one of degree. I would like to offer a couple of personal experiences to expand. In conditions of modern western civilisation, it is very difficult to hold a view of dietary ‘rightness’ without excluding yourself from certain social circles. In some aspects of work and societal engagement, I have found myself eating things that I know are made with, for example, battery-farmed eggs. Although all yogic consumption should be accompanied by a degree of background awareness anyway, particularly at times such as this I try to offer a silent prayer acknowledging a higher degree of misuse and suffering that might have been involved; one that asks that, now ended, that suffering puts itself to productive ends by participating in my ongoing living, practice and teaching, and so becoming more richly involved in the sharing and spreading of our destiny of self-realisation. The second experience was of a time some years ago when I was doing a lot of hard physical work, as well as no mean amount of the physical elements of yoga practice (not as ‘effortless’ as perhaps it should be) and was as good as veganesque. As many had commented, I had become far too bony, and privately, it was somewhat painful to observe my thought patterns becoming, let me say, not fluid and friendly. By accident, I was discovered to be vitamin B12-deficient. There are not many rich sources of B12 other than meat, and B12 is essential to the maintenance and well-being of the myelin sheaths of the nerves, which, once damaged, cannot be repaired. How unyogic is damage to the nervous system, no matter what the pursuit of apparent rightness is? One final point to make. I cannot recommend highly enough The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein, which includes good commentary on the consumption of meat. The

author explains, convincingly and liberatingly, that there is no blanket ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to a diet, and so disposes of dietary dogma. ‘Your’ diet, at any given moment, is the right one, as long as ‘yours’ is in true obedience to the body in the circumstances in which it exists. To this I would add the comment that, ideal and easy as it may sound, it is the reign of the beast of habit that makes it really quite a challenge. So one might conclude with the advice that, yes, eat animals if it is right for you. But by the same token, allow yourself to be consumed by the deeper knowledge of the animal’s anima within; i.e. be prepared to die to the higher form it might offer; just as the mortal, historical Christ did for him’Self’. Breath. Life. Soul. Spirit. Anima(l). Anima Mundi. Tat Tvam Asi.

Swami Veda Bharati Swami Veda Bharati left his body at 3am India time on 13 July 2015. He was a foremost student of Swami Rama of the Himalyan tradition and will be remembered for his gentleness, humility and forbearance, living for many years more than doctors thought possible, with a great deal of pain and perfect equilibrium. His secret was living and speaking from a place of silence within. Swami Veda (and Swami Ritavan) came to YS annual seminar in St Andrews seven or eight years ago, despite needing to use a wheelchair, led some beautiful meditations and teachings and read us some of his poetry. Silence The silence of speech is not silence. Silence of mind is true silence. Silence is the infinity of the Word that is God. In the beginning was that silence; that silence was in God. When words are spoken from a mind that is truly still, Silent and tranquil, they are inspired words, sending Their power echoing for centuries around the globe. In the silence of your meditation such words shall arise. In the practice of silence, only truth is spoken. Speak truth; speak that which is pleasant. Do not speak unpleasant truth; do not speak pleasant untruth. This is the ancient law of silence, that all spoken words Come true when they arise from the depths of silence. (from ‘The Light of Ten Thousand Suns’ by Swami Veda Bharati) Honour Swami Veda’s memory with Gayatri mantra in the silence of your meditations. Gayatri (the mantra of light) Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya dhimahi Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat (I meditate on the radiant and most venerable light of the Divine, from which issues forth the triple world (earth, space, divinity). May the Divine light illuminate and guide my intelligence.) Jackie Le Brocq

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Practising Ahimsa: I Don’t Eat Creatures – But I Do Kill Them For Work & Play An Ethical Dilemma That We Do Well To Consider Before Preaching by Dr Mark Biddiss Like all vegetarians, I periodically get asked the inevitable question: ‘Why are you a vegetarian?’ Only recently, the question arose in conversation with a fellow vegetarian who had a noticeable tendency towards the condescending, selfrighteous, zealot-preacher type, who clearly judges nonvegetarian omnivores with considerable scorn, criticism and disdain. This person told me that she didn’t want to eat meat because she didn’t wish to have any part in the unnecessary cruelty and suffering that accompany much of modern-day animal farming, even organic. A fair point, I said, made by most vegetarians, in fact. I told her that when I stopped eating meat, back in 1990, it was for similar ethical reasons, after reading one too many distressing horror stories about brutal animal farming methods. But I went on to say that I’m now a vegetarian, partly because I don’t like the animal cruelty and suffering of course, but also because I enjoy the vegetarian diet, and I think it’s probably more healthy for me emotionally, mentally and physically. The important point I made, though, is that I personally feel that it would totally undermine my own sense of integrity and congruity to preach to others about the animal suffering aspect, because, quite frankly, I’d be a total hypocrite to do so. You see, firstly, I wear leather shoes and leather belts, which come from animals that have been killed, possibly brutally. Secondly, I occasionally eat meals containing eggs and cheese at friends’ houses and in restaurants, where I’m not at all sure of the conditions in which the source animals concerned were kept. But perhaps most importantly I regularly kill creatures for both work and play. How so? Well, my work sees me driving all over the UK, and, for the last few years I’ve driven about twenty thousand miles each year. Moreover, I regularly drive out on day trips and holidays for pure leisure, pleasure and fun. If I go out to my slightly grubby car right now, I know there will be a good number of very dead, splattered insects all over the front of my car and windscreen, especially during the summer. So the fact is, even ignoring the need to drive for my work – which I could change if it bothered me that much – I’m quite prepared to not only pollute the environment with my car’s exhaust, which is bad enough, but I also knowingly destroy life just so that I can go to places for pure pleasure and enjoyment, which I don’t actually need to do. And, in total honesty, this unnecessary polluting and mass road-killing clearly doesn’t distress me that much, even knowing that some of the bugs I hit, especially at lower speeds, probably bounce, mortally maimed and mutilated, from my car, possibly destined for a slow, lingering and, for all I know, painful death. That said, that last bit does bother me just a bit when I think about it – but clearly not that much, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.

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What’s even worse about me, I think, is that I know that if instead of counting, say, ten splattered bugs on my car, I found instead ten splattered cats or ten splattered dogs or ten splattered rabbits or ten splattered badgers or ten splattered foxes, then that really would distress me an awful lot. And I reckon that I’d probably stop making such unnecessary murderous pleasure trips if I knew it meant the almost certain killing of such creatures on each trip. But, ethically speaking, is it right that I value insects any less than any other living creature? You see, I can assure you – as a trained scientist – that if we found even the most ‘primitive’ insect on, say, planet Mars, it would shake science – and many religions – to their very roots. I have, of course, heard that ‘old chestnut’ – most notably from seafood-eating vegetarians – that it’s OK to kill and eat more ‘simple’ or ‘less complex’ creatures, with primitive or no detectable nervous system, such as bugs, fish and much seafood, on the dubious theory that they don’t suffer. These people clearly aren’t that bothered about the marine ecosystem damage involved in the fishing industry generally. Furthermore, I’m not aware of any compelling scientific evidence which shows that bugs, fish and other ‘seafood’ which people eat do NOT suffer just because they have a less complex nervous system. The vegetarian person I was speaking with didn’t eat seafood or bugs, but she did then come out with the other old chestnut one regularly encounters: ‘Well, I’ve got to live, and I can’t live like a hermit, and I do what I can to minimise animal cruelty and suffering’. I find that apologetic defence to be totally reasonable and fair enough from the lacto-ovovegetarians, like me, who don’t preach to others, especially meat-eaters, about the morality, or lack of it, of killing animals for food. But, quite frankly, I personally think it smacks of rank hypocrisy and double standards coming from the aforementioned arrogant, self-righteous zealot-preacher type, who, in my view, really need to be ‘squeaky clean’ themselves if they are to judge anyone in that way. For if they really did believe as strongly as they claim in minimising animal suffering and cruelty, then they would live more like a ‘hermit’, just like some people with such views in fact do, people for whom I hold great respect. The way I think about it, the person I was speaking with – and people like her – have blood on their hands if they travel anywhere by motorised transport just for leisure, pleasure and fun – just like I do – and they should think on that before judging and condemning others for what they eat. If you believe that you, or anyone you know of, might benefit from working with Mark, either in person, by telephone or even by ‘Skype’ – perhaps exploring some of the ideas raised or thoughts provoked in this or previous articles in your own life – then please contact him initially via email: mark.biddiss@btinternet.com


Yoga SCOTLAND

How We Move In Yoga Body and Mind with Tina Gilbert

Saturday 12th September 10am-4pm Glencorse Centre, Auchendinny EH26 0QZ Tina is the Anatomy and Physiology Tutor with Yoga Scotland and Mindfulness Meditation Trainer with the Mindfulness Association. Anyone who has been on Tina’s CPD days will know the extent of her anatomy knowledge and her easyway of teaching. This workshop will offer teachers, student teachers and anyone who enjoys a regular yoga class, a day of yoga with an anatomy focus. Tina will take us through some familiar yoga poses and practices and explore how they stretch and tone particular muscles and joints to keep the body and spine strong, flexible and healthy. The day will also incorporate elements of mindfulness.

Cost, £50. To book or for more information, contact Linda Shand on 07803 523781 or email linda.shand@btinternet.com The Glencorse Centre is 10 minutes from the Edinburgh by-pass and around 70minutes from Glasgow. The centre has a great little café that uses produce from their own community garden.

Zoe Knott General Postures Workshop

The Yogic Cook Banana Nut Pie ( Serves 8)

Pie shell: 200 g rolled oats; 175 g wholewheat flour; 1 tablespoon honey; 150 ml oil; 200 g sunflower seeds; water for mixing Filling: 200 g cashew nuts; 150 g pitted dates; 1 litre water; 2 tablespoons arrowroot; 1 teaspoon grated orange rind 1 teaspoon vanilla essence; 2 bananas, plus slices for decoration 200 g chopped walnuts Saturday 27th February 10am-4pm The Eric Liddell Centre, Edinburgh This workshop enjoys delving more deeply into the postures we experience in a general yoga class. Throughout the day we will consider: 1 Why we work in particular poses 2 Stages to allow all abilities to progress safely 3 How to move in and out of postures in the safest way. We will prepare for asana with specific techniques to stretch or strengthen relevant muscles and postures will be broken down and considered stage by stage. You will all find a stage you can work with and be given a path on which you can progress forward. The day is appropriate for teachers, student teachers and keen yoga class attendees. If anyone has a question they would like to ask before booking, do send me an email zoeknott@tiscali.co.uk.

Cost, £50. To book, contact Linda Shand on 07803 523781 or email linda.shand@btinternet.com

1) Preheat the oven to 200 °C/400 °F/gas mark 6. Oil a 23 cm (9 in) loose-bottomed round flan tin. To make the pie shell, mix all the ingredients together, adding a little water to bind them. 2) Spread the mixture in the greased tin, using your hand to spread the mix evenly around the base and sides of the tin. Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, until golden. Allow the pie shell to cool completely before removing from the tin. 3) To make the filling, put all the ingredients, except the bananas and chopped walnuts, in a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pan and cook over a low heat until it thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 4) Slice the 2 bananas into the pie shell. Pour the cooled filling on top and decorate with banana slices and the chopped nuts. Chill until set.

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Asanas on the Algarve by Alison Wright Doing yoga in nature on the Atlantic coast, surfing its breakers, sleeping under the stars in a rustic tipi and almost finding the lifestyle that dreams are made of during a week in Portugal’s western Algarve. Two insights came to me on my recent surf and yoga trip to Tipi Valley, Portugal. The first is, if you don’t stay calm you won’t catch the wave. The second is yoga and surfing are great natural pain-relievers. These were not the insights I had been looking for, which led me to a third insight. Never do things expecting a certain outcome. And perhaps, in the end, all of these insights were what I needed. The reason I had come to Tipi Valley was that I hoped a combination of pure exhaustion, fear and yoga meditation would shut my over-thinking brain off. I wanted to get in touch with my intuition and solve a dilemma that I had been wrestling with for a while. So, early in May, armed with some sunscreen and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, off I went to catch a Ryanair flight to Faro.

Photos: Alison Wright

The place Tipi Valley Surf and Yoga Camp is set in the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano in Portugal’s western Algarve, less than an hour north of Lagos. The valley slopes west towards the Atlantic, and lies within one of the few remaining cork tree forests in Portugal. In May the trees are complemented by a spattering of white stevia flowers that cover the valley, their sweet scent carried on the Atlantic winds. Gabriel, the duty manager, thinks the area is a hidden gem of Europe with some of the best waves. I can’t really comment on the waves, although there did seem to be some really big surf if that’s what you’re after. But I’d definitely agree the coastal scenery is stunning, and it’s just enough away from the regular tourist haunts to feel hidden. As the camp is in the park, there is a limit to the number of buildings that can be constructed, so all the accommodation comes in the form of tipis and safari tents of varying sizes. These canvas coverings are interspersed among a beautiful permaculture garden combining native and edible fruit trees and plants. I shared one of the large tipis with Primrose, an energetic woman of not quite thirty, who has just launched her own naturopathic food company, Primrose’s Kitchen.

It’s more glamping than camping when you have proper beds and duvets and great outdoor solar showers. This goes down well at the end of a hard day’s surf. You get the comfort of a hotel with the magic of sitting out in an evening watching tipis glowing gently underneath star-dusted skies. Magical. It made walking to the composting toilets in the middle of the night a treat, rather than something to avoid until morning. As Dakota, our yoga teacher said: ‘Tipi Valley does a good job of mixing indulgence with sustainability. People are un-plugged but they’re not lacking comfort’. Yoga and surf Dakota was from Las Vegas and had previously been teaching yoga in a cancer rehabilitation centre in France. She ensured we had mainly energetic yoga in the morning and then a more restorative session in the evening. Surf and yoga go well together for many reasons, such as balance, strength and focus – everything that helps you survive on a surfboard. For Gabriel, surfing is his yoga – he considers it an active meditation. For the rest of us, lack of access to sun and surf means sticking with our downward dogs. Everybody seemed to love the outdoor yoga. The views, the sounds, the breeze and the sun combined to give added focus. ‘The sounds of birds and wildlife while you’re doing yoga put you in a natural trance,’ reasoned Primrose. The mosquitoes played a part too, providing an additional focused meditation as you listened for that tiny buzz in your ear or felt that miniature proboscis pierce your skin. I think of myself as a nature girl, but I forget about its dark side – the sunburn, bites, hayfever and lack of temperature regulation. Transplanting my office-bound body from a Scottish winter onto a beach in the Algarve was a shock. And yet, lying in savasana at the end of each yoga session I could no longer feel my sunburn or itchy bites or muscle aches. And after the initial discomfort of squeezing into a wetsuit with swollen sunburnt ankles (I don’t know either), as soon as the Atlantic currents hit my body, all I felt was elation. After the first two days, fellow yoga-surfer Marie and I decided we needed a break and slipped off to explore the area. We ended up at the tail end of a crocodile of about forty hikers all walking the Rota Vicentina trail that extends 350km along Portugal’s southwest coast. Marie had been a contestant on Dragons Den a few years ago with a dog ice cream product which she has since turned into a global company – Billy and Margot. I’m still trying to work out if meeting these two women entrepreneurs was another message from the universe. My journey with yoga/why I came/ what I learned I went to Tipi Valley just as I was coming to the end of the Yoga Scotland Foundation course. I feel like I’ve been on a journey most of my life, but only in the last few years have I started to find what it is I’ve even been looking for. The

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I didn’t resolve my dilemma but my yoga surf week changed my focus and gave me space for thought. I met interesting people, realised I’m probably never going to be a surfing demon, and deepened my appreciation for yoga in the great outdoors. Next time – the mountains!

Photos: Alison Wright + Talia Dali

Foundation course provided the basis for a deepening of my awareness as well as being in an environment with great people and supportive, fun teachers. So a week of doing yoga twice a day really helped me get into a great routine with my own practice. And as for my objectives – on the exhaustion front I succeeded. On the fear front, I think I was too afraid to really push myself into anything that would even cause fear to arise. I was a super-cautious surfer, waiting for perfect waves and noone crowding me. So I didn’t really get very far with the whole standing up thing. But I did catch a lot of waves by taking my time, timing it just right, and not panicking.

Yoga Scotland Autumn Seminar Gary Carter October 31st 2015 Victoria Hall, Dunblane 10 am – 4 pm Gary Carter has a background in athletics, competition cycling, bodybuilding, martial arts, yoga and manual therapies and over 25 years of experience in physical training, anatomical study and bodywork practices.

YS Members: £30 Non-members: £35

Teas/coffees/biscuits provided

www.yogascotland.org.uk 25


Yoga SCOTLAND

Practising Ahimsa: Soul Power by Sharon Gannon hanam esham kleshavad uktam The greatest obstacle to the practice (of yoga) is one’s own prejudices based on one’s own preferences (PYS IV.28) Yoga is the practice of getting happy. Not ordinary happiness, but deep and lasting happiness that is unshaken by the ups and downs of life. Through yoga we wake up, slowly and over time, and as each bit of the veil of ignorance that keeps us from knowing our true selves falls, we see more and more clearly what is, and with that we gain power to choose to live life aligned with Love – the nature of the Divine Self. Those of us on this path face both tremendous challenges and tremendous opportunities at this time. Our culture of materialism, exploitation and utter disregard for the well-being of other animals, all of nature and the Earth herself is inching us ever closer to a breaking point, while at the same time we are undergoing a huge spiritual shift in consciousness. To navigate through this tumultuous time and emerge into the light, we must dissolve a crippling prejudice that has put many of us to sleep for thousands of years, distorted our minds and coerced us into viewing slavery, exploitation and the mass murder of other animals as normal. The root of that prejudice is the lie that animals don’t have souls. Patanjali in his yoga sutra, identifies prejudice as the greatest obstacle to yoga. Prejudice is always based on misperception, which comes from ignorance. Ignorance arises from being told a lie and believing it and then continuing to tell yourself and others that lie – deepening your belief in it to such an extent that it affects how you see yourself and the others whom you are prejudiced against, resulting in a distortion of the truth. Prejudice is a mental affliction that pollutes the mind with deception. To rid yourself of prejudice, you must destroy the lie at the root. Only knowledge can burn prejudice at its root and reveal the truth. Many religious traditions maintain that non-human animals do not have souls, or that they do not have the kind of souls that enable one to connect to God. Patanjali tells us that if we look deeply we will see the truth. In fact, you don’t even have to look that deeply to see that other animals have souls. If they are breathing and the heart is beating, this is evidence that a soul is present. To be alive is to have a soul. All living beings, regardless of the colour of their skin, hair, feathers, scales or fur, and whether or not they walk on two legs or four or none at all, are persons – they have souls. This is evident in our language: the word anima is the root for the word animal, and it means ‘soul, that which

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animates.’ Thus, by definition, all animals have souls, whether human or non-human. Every living being has a soul. When someone dies, the soul leaves the body, and that is the only time that we can justifiably point at someone and say they don’t have a soul. It is the same no matter what kind of person you are: you may be a human, a cat, a dog, a cow, a bird or a fish person, but regardless, all living beings have souls; if they didn’t they would be dead. It is also evident in countless stories of animals behaving in ways that go far beyond the rigid notions of animal behaviour that culture and science have limited them to, ways that in many cases display more humanity than many humans display. For example, dolphins caring for their dying friends, dogs who forego food themselves in order to have enough to feed their families, octopuses who decorate their dens, birds who use words to express regret, and many more. If these animals were nothing more than automatons whose behaviour is dictated entirely by their genes, how could they demonstrate such connectedness with others and the world around them? Once when I was visiting the holy city of Benares in India, I noticed a very small, white three-legged female dog, always in a hurry, dodging rickshaws and human kicks and always on the lookout for food. I saw that when she did find something to eat, like a piece of discarded food someone had dropped, she would never eat it on the spot, but instead would quickly run away with her prize. One morning as I was leaving our hotel and walking down a busy narrow street, I heard the whimper of a puppy. I looked under a rotting wooden board, which was being used as a stoop placed over a sewer, and saw a tiny white puppy crouching on the side of the gutter. I didn’t really have more than a two-second look when a white ‘blur’ sped in front of me and to the side of the little waif-like puppy. It was the threelegged dog. She was a mommy. I went to a nearby restaurant and bought some food for her which she and her baby ate appreciatively, but it was impossible to find them after that day because they moved a lot, I assume for security reasons. But one day I was sitting on the banks of the River Ganges with a full bag of fresh chapattis, feeding a small troop of dogs. I became quite intrigued with the behaviour of one dog in particular. He was polite and didn’t shove his way to the front of the pack, but waited patiently on the sidelines. I sought him out and gave him a whole chapatti, which he took and then let drop to the ground between his front paws. He looked up at me imploringly. I was confused. Didn’t he like chapattis? But the dog didn’t walk away and leave the bread; instead he remained stationed, looking up at me. So I gave him another chapatti. He took it, dropped in on top of the first one and deftly scooped both of them up in his mouth. He quickly turned away and began to run. I was determined to follow him, and went running down the narrow streets, dodging cows, people and other dogs. I was able to keep him in sight. Then I stopped when he stopped. He ducked his head beneath an old gutter board under a sari shop. Yes, there they were: three-legged mommy and little baby, his hungry family. To look into their grateful eyes and see their wagging tails, you could tell they were all very happy and thankful. The valiant daddy dog stood by like a guard while his wife and child ate their chapattis. ‘When people tell me animals are incapable of real family ties and that it’s just all instinct, I


Yoga SCOTLAND have to say, ‘hmm—I don’t think you know what you are talking about.’ Jivamukti means liberation for the soul – all souls, not just human souls. To become truly liberated, we must rid ourselves of prejudice. Asana and meditation practice can help. Bhakti can help. Being vegan can help. But no practice will be effective unless we are willing to open our minds and hearts to see beyond the ‘reality’ presented to us by our culture, which has conditioned us to see other animals as inferior and even soulless. Many spiritual and religious traditions insist that animals don’t have souls or that they don’t have the type of souls which would allow them to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, citing that the human birth is the only birth that affords the chance for spiritual realisation. To work to dispel this type of ignorance and to awaken to the truth that all beings are endowed with consciousness and the yearning for happiness and freedom is a noble pursuit. Non-human animals are more like us than most humans would like to admit – they are people too – individual individual persons with the capacity to think, to contemplate to feel emotions and communicate through language. Human beings are not the only species capable of evolving towards enlightenment. To insist that we are is to be bound in ignorance and deluded by prejudice. Speciesism (hate for other animals) is a deeply ingrained prejudice, perhaps even more so than misogyny (hate for women), which is deep enough. But the good news is that prejudices are not hardwired in us; they are learned behaviours and what is learned can be unlearned. With compassion, humility and sincere desire, we can shift our perception and be able to see others so clearly and deeply that otherness disappears and only truth remains. That truth will be seen as love itself – the nature of the soul – the ground of being for all of existence.

Tayside Yoga SEMINAR PROGRAMME AUTUMN 2015 BOTH SEMINARS IN Nilupul Centre 51 Reform Street Dundee DD1 1SL Date 4 October 29 November

Teacher Ann Hunter Tina Gilbert

Sunday mornings: 09.45 – 12.45 Admission: £15 Further details from: Frances Morgan 07732 696 802 or, please e-mail: taysideyogaassociation@hotmail.com

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Practising Ahimsa: Yin Yoga: The Healing Art of Paulie Zink by Eileen Kragie Photos: Maria Zink

to experience the true depth of this practice...and the fun. Becoming attuned to the seasons and the alchemical elements has changed how I move through my days. Every moment is an opportunity to practise and to learn from the animals and nature around me. Walks with my dog become occasions to move like an animal, to observe other animals in their natural habitat and to hold postures in order to grow more, instead of just sitting or standing like humans normally do. With a little imagination I can weave my yoga practice into my daily activities, even using the stairs to hop up like a frog. Growing and preserving my flexibility, strength, fluid movement and also developing a deeper connection with everything around me has become an integral part of my life.

My first experience with Yin yoga was eleven years ago when I purchased a Sarah Powers’ DVD. I loved the quiet longer holds of postures. The emphasis was on the lower part of the body and the practice was done from floor positions. Seeking out her teacher, I found Paul Grilley and his first book which presented photos of the postures along with an outline of the theories he was studying at the time. This was my first introduction to the Chinese meridian theory. I then followed the source to Grilley’s teacher, Paulie Zink. Reading through Paulie’s website about what he had accomplished in his practice and watching his video clip demonstrations made me want to study only with him. His fluidity and flexibility are captivating and inspiring. The first workshop I attended with Paulie showed me what this practice he teaches is really all about. It is not simply a quiet practice of long, still holds. That is the foundation from which evolves the ability to move fluidly and gracefully from posture to posture. The full practice invokes the energetics of animals and so much more. The five elements of the Chinese medical system are explored through the practice in a variety of ways. The workshop concluded with a walking meditation of the birthing cycle of the five transforming energies. At the end of it I could feel the chi (life force) radiating between my hands and my body was invigorated and full of energy. That first time I met Paulie I asked him, ‘Were you always this flexible?’ He answered, ‘No, I had average flexibility as a teenager. I started practising Hatha yoga in my teens and grew some but it wasn’t until I met my Master when I was in college and really started training intensively that my flexibility developed to the point where it is now. The style of kung fu that was handed down to me required extraordinary flexibility to master it. I practised six to eight hours a day for ten years.’ After attending several week-long training sessions with Paulie I feel I am only beginning to scratch the surface and

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The Tao of Paulie The complete art of Yin yoga taught by its founder Master Paulie Zink goes far beyond the image of Yin yoga as it is commonly held by many yoga practitioners and teachers. This is a dynamic, potent practice. It is a healing art and one designed to restore the primal nature of the practitioner, that nature which is curious, strong, adaptable and instinctual. Being awake to one’s primal nature means being fully present in the body without the distraction of abstract analytical thought processes and self-limiting preconceptions. Paulie’s Yin yoga is rooted in the traditional Taoist healing arts of China which have their earliest beginnings in ancient shamanic practices. The complete art of Yin yoga is premised upon the energetics of animals and elemental forces. It incorporates the concept of yin and yang and the five element theory that is the basis of the Chinese system of acupuncture and herbal medicine. In various styles of yoga it is common for poses to be identified with an animal name, but what does that really mean? In Paulie’s Yin yoga the focus is on the energetics of the animals. It’s about the alchemy of embodying their spirit. So the name of an animal is not just a convenient way to identify a posture. It describes the attributes of the posture. Embodying the energetic qualities of animals is an


Yoga SCOTLAND invigorating technique for transforming and enhancing the experience of our own physicality, how we feel and move in our bodies and how we relate to our surroundings. When practising the art of Yin yoga the way it’s taught by Paulie and you assume a Seal posture, you begin to become one with the sensations of being a seal. You aren’t merely mimicking a seal, you ARE the seal. Lying quietly and still, you feel the sand or stone beach underneath you. You feel heavy on land. You move by twisting and undulating your belly and thighs and using your arms like flippers. The sensation of flinging or heaving yourself evokes an experience that is unique to yourself, in your own body. There is no judgment. There is only the fun and freedom of being who you are. As another example, by doing the Monkey postures and movements you become as a monkey is: agile and mischievous. In the way you sit or stand or run about, the movements are those of the monkey, twisting, reaching, climbing and scampering along the ground. You spontaneously become joyous, curious and playful.

There are many dozens of postures and variations contained in the complete art of Yin yoga, including those of mythical beings such as the Dragon and the Phoenix. When embodying a dragon, you begin to feel as though you are filled with the might of a dragon, the ability to breathe fire and shred metal with massive claws. The Dragon posture (also described as a lunge posture) is used to develop ankle, hip and thigh flexibility, among other things. With consistent practice the ankle joints grow increasingly flexible, enabling the practitioner to perform very low-to-the-ground stances. This becomes particularly useful when flowing from posture to posture, such as with the Monkey and the Rabbit series of movements.

Whether you are taking on the characteristics of a mythical creature or a real animal, each one imbues not only physical traits to the practitioner but also energetic and spiritual qualities. A sense of magic and mystery comes over you. You begin to live in the moment, not thinking, simply being. Developing awareness of the subtle energy of chi, our vital life force, is at the heart of Yin yoga. The theory of the five transforming energies lays the foundation of the art. These are the elemental forces of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire. Each of these elements express distinct characteristics in the energetic field of our body and emotions, such as calm, strength, fluidity, springiness and lightness, respectively. These elemental attributes can be cultivated and manipulated. For instance, the Phoenix posture is of the

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Yoga SCOTLAND

fire element. Fire energy has the quality of lightness and being ungrounded. It is always in motion, always expanding and reaching upward. With the Phoenix posture you start from a crouching position poised on the balls of the feet with arms tucked under the armpits liked folded wings. Then by invoking fire energy you gracefully rise in one fluid motion, unfolding your wings as you come up to a standing position. From there, with wings outstretched, you finish by balancing on one leg. ‘I taught a form of Toad-Frog-Phoenix sequence to my yoga class’, says Linnea Larson, a Yin yoga teacher trained by Paulie, ‘and one of the 55-year-old guys who has bad arthritis in his knees and hips was simply ecstatic that he could move from Phoenix straight up with his arms overhead. He said he never would have imagined he could have done this and he has not done that kind of movement in fifteen years.’ Incorporating the energy of an element or creature can make the practice seem effortless, as evidenced by animals who lie relaxed and nearly motionless until they need to leap up and race off to evade the pursuit of a predator. So too, through this practice, we bring our body back to its primal nature, one which is relaxed and at ease with gravity, yet always prepared to respond in an instant. In the popularised version of Yin yoga it is commonly understood as being a practice done from the waist down with static poses. ‘Unfortunately there are a lot students who have learned only this fragment of my art,’ Paulie explains, ‘and think that is all there is to it. By only working the lower part of the body you are neglecting all the joints of the upper body and this causes an imbalance in the whole system of the body. The idea of Yin yoga is to become totally flexible and resilient, to move the entire body in graceful unison. It is important for all the joints to be open and mobile in order for chi, or the life force, to flow efficiently.’ Yin yoga involves all the tissues of the body, not just the connective tissue. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, veins and arteries, cartilage, bones, and even the organs are all stimulated by the practice. The circular and spiral designs and movements found in nature are integral to the practice and are similar to those used in tai chi and other chi kung disciplines. The more static postures are used to grow flexibility. Yet the ability to flow fluidly and comfortably in

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and out of them is equally important, if not more so. Standing and balancing postures are also a significant component of the practice. Another common misconception about Yin yoga is that it is an ‘easy’ yoga. However, many of the poses can be quite strenuous, especially in their advanced form. Yin yoga develops muscular strength, and the weight-bearing movements of the animal postures temper the bones. Bones are living tissue and generate new cells. They are capable of growth and adaptation. Every joint of the body is worked in this practice. Attention is paid to the fingers, wrists, toes and ankles, along with the back, shoulders and neck. The continuous transitions from tight contracted postures to open expanding ones allow the body to move through and extend its full range of motion. Paulie sees the infinite potential in all of his students; but the onus is on the student to let go of the constraining mindset, the belief in limitation. Paulie says, ‘If you believe you are limited, then you will be.’ This practice is designed to take us out of the obsessive thinking and judgmental mind in order to restore and to enliven our primal essence that modern convention has alienated us from in many ways. It is our birthright, the wild spirit of keenly attuned senses and empowered physical awareness that is unfettered by social conditioning and which returns us to being in harmony with the natural world, her rhythms and cycles. This is a life-long practice undertaken to keep ourselves healthy and connected with our own individual nature and with all of life in which we are an inextricable part.

Eileen Kragie has received a 500-Hour Advanced Level II Yin Yoga Teacher Certification with Paulie Zink. She teaches Yin Yoga in Virginia, USA. For more information about Paulie Zink’s Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings see YinYogaCertification.com TheYinYogaInstitute.com PaulieZink.com


Yoga SCOTLAND

Desert Island Yoga by Tina Gilbert 4. Yoga Masters by Mark Forrester and Jo Manuel, the philosophy behind yoga including many inspirational quotations and reminders of why I do yoga. 5. Yoga, Mind and Body, a Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Centre book, reminds me of my yoga training. I am Sivanandatrained and started teaching in 2005 after practising for six years. Yoga and mindfulness have changed my life and I have such gratitude for my training and teachers Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnu Devananda. 6. My Apple Mac computer. This is full of many wonderful downloaded of inspirational people sharing their knowledge of their own journey on the spiritual path, and mindfulness lectures that deepen my understanding of the mind and the importance of kindness and compassion in life. Speakers like Rob Nairn, Chris Germer, Kristine Neff, Tara Brach, Lama Yeshe and Frank Ostaseski. It also holds all my music, which I love; music is very important to me and listening to jazz, chanting and modern music often uplifts me if I am feeling down. 7. Chris Germer’s book Mindfulness Path to Self Compassion, highlighting the importance of kindness to self and others and compassion training, has been the most transformative in my yoga and mindfulness meditation journey. 8. CD by Deva Premal, I love to do yoga to her CD. What would I take to a desert island? 1.Tara Brach’s book True Refuge. This book is all about helping you cope with difficulty in life in a kind and compassionate way. It is fabulous and reminds me of my retreat with Tara in September last year in Holland. I went with three friends and we had a wonderful weekend away. I got the chance to spend time with Tara, practise with her, hear her teaching and feel her energy. She really has the ability to be with you, giving you her undivided attention, such a gift. A really memorable time and a wonderful read no matter how many times you have read it before!

My luxury item would be my new wonderful pashmina, given to me by the Glasgow Yoga Scotland students at the end of their training. I have many pashminas and I love them all, but this one is absolutely the right size to keep me warm and covered on those chilly days when the sun is not out and you need a little comfort, as it covers my whole body. I love it.

2. Audio recordings from Tara’s retreat in Holland. It doesn’t matter how many times I listen to them, I hear something new and always feel refreshed by her teachings. 3. CD by Lama Chenno which reminds me of Samye Ling Buddhist Monastery, my second home where I discovered mindfulness, Rob Nairn and the Mindfulness Association over six years ago now. It was also the favourite music of Akong Rinpoche, the Abbot and founder of Samye Ling and the Holy Isle. When I listen to this, it takes me to a different space and it is wonderful.

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Practising Ahimsa: A Walk on the Wildside by Nikki Biddiss We are a nation of animal lovers, but could we benefit from connecting with animals in the wild as well as keeping pets? Research is increasingly telling us what we already knew: animals are good for our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. This research is still at a relatively early stage and the bulk of it concentrates on the benefits of keeping pets at home. But some emerging research is also showing the benefits of experiencing animals in their more natural environments. Throughout history humans have coexisted with animals but our relationship with them is complex: we have domesticated some of them while continuing to rely on others as a source of food or income. Overall we have steadily become a nation of animal lovers. Poll after poll demonstrates our love for our feathered and furry friends, with monetary donations to RSPCA and RSPB regularly making the Top 20 in charity lists, while UK expenditure on pets in 2015 is set to top £7 billion. When we look at the animals we are inviting into our home (Table 1), dogs and cats dominate, as we would probably expect, but in terms of numbers, there are enough fish in tanks or ponds to occupy every single household in the UK. Table 1: Top 10 Pets in UK 2014 1.Fish kept in tanks 20-25 million

9% households

2.Fish kept in ponds

20 million

5% households

3.Dogs

9 million

24% households

4.Cats

7.9 million

18% households

5. Rabbits

1 million

2.4% households

6. Domestic fowl

1 million

0.8% households

7. Caged birds

1 million

1.4% households

8. Guinea pigs

0.5 million

1.1% households

9. Hamsters

0.4 million

1.4% households

10.Lizards 0.4 million Source: www.pfma.org.uk

0.7% households

Keeping a pet brings a number of psychological benefits: it can alleviate loneliness, improve mood and reduce depression. It gives us purpose in caring for our pet, allows consistency in our day-to-day lives, allows us to feel safer (presumably this is from having dogs rather than goldfish!) and helps us relax. The psychological benefit of touch is well established and there is a direct correlation between stroking an animal and reducing stress and anxiety in ourselves (and presumably in the stroked animal). However, it has also been found that there are benefits even without physical touch, such as watching fish in a tank or the activity of birds in the garden. These benefits are open to all ages: people over 65 with a pet are 30% less likely to suffer from depression; while bringing children up with pets can help them develop empathy, and children often report turning to their pet for comfort when they get upset. People were also found to be better able to adjust to serious illness or the death of a loved one if they had a pet during these difficult times.

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There are also a wealth of physical benefits: they can encourage regular exercise, particularly dogs and horses, and it was found that dog owners are less likely to visit their GP than non-dog owners. Moreover, the increased activity from keeping pets has been associated with reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol in some studies. There are also social benefits too, as we engage with other humans through a shared passion for our pets. Furthermore, it appears that we can take these benefits outside. Whether we are watching birds and animals in our garden, walking locally in woodland, visiting parks and reserves or travelling abroad to try to catch sight of an exotic bird or animal in its own environment, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with animals outside of the home. There is a growing body of research which shows that connecting with nature enhances our sense of wellbeing, and going out into nature to connect with birds, reptiles, insects and animals allows us the double benefit of visiting green spaces while engaging with its local inhabitants. Moreover this so-called ‘green exercise’ may appeal to people not normally attracted to exercise, as the walking, clambering and climbing to get to the best views are seen as incidental to the main aim of the exertion. Many people love and appreciate wildlife and it can help define the essence of our culture and environment: Highland cows, bears and tigers are all associated with particular places (less so in a zoo!) and provide a way of connecting to that culture. Wildlife inspires art, poetry, music and storytelling, all of which become embedded in our culture. There are many ways in which we can choose to engage with the animals, such as by feeding, watching, studying or photographing them. Of course, we can, and do, derive benefits from watching wildlife documentaries, reading books and magazines, buying posters, visiting aquariums, zoos and natural history museums, but we lose the wider benefit of connecting with nature in pursuing these activities. A 2009 study on Wildlife Tourism by Susanna Curtin sought to capture the emotions and experiences of the tourists. Descriptions like ‘awe-inspiring’, ‘wonder’ and ‘privilege’ were used, and for some it appeared almost a spiritual encounter, reminding them of the deep complexities and wonders of our world. She proposes that part of this deep connection is because we share the survival instinct with animals, and watching them survive harsh terrains and environments reminds us of our own struggles to survive. Tourists also reported enjoying the time to ‘just stand and stare’, and found it provoked a deep sense of wellbeing. Interestingly you may not need to venture abroad for these experiences, as some reported feeling the same way when looking at birds and wildlife at home. As well as personal benefits there are also wider economic benefits to local economies and jobs as people are attracted to visit particular wildlife areas. There is also a growing realisation that the health of our wildlife is an indicator of the health of the environment on which we


Yoga SCOTLAND depend, and steps to preserve or re-establish those environments is to also protect where we live. So we can conclude that there are numerous benefits to humans in engaging with animals both as pets and in the wild. But what about the animals? The £7 billion pet bill suggests that our pets are, in the main, well cared-for and most are loved as additional family members. However, it could be argued that we are ignoring the ethical issue of caging animals in and around our homes, even when it is said to be protecting them from local predators. And what of the animals imported and caged in zoos and to a lesser extent safari parks? There are also arguments for and against visiting animals in the wild: large volumes of people

may benefit the local economies but contribute to the erosion of the very areas they are visiting. Interestingly it has been found that nature is flourishing in areas where humans have restricted access, such as in large military zones. So perhaps we should just stay local, engaging with wildlife in our gardens and local parks, and when we want to get exotic, perhaps there is something to be said for watching wildlife documentaries after all. Nikki Biddiss is a Medical Herbalist, Aromatherapist and Stress and Wellbeing Therapist. She can be consulted at Napier’s the Herbalists, Glasgow or in Bridge of Allan. Call 0752 8341206 for details or visit www.botanicalhealing.co.uk

Practising Ahimsa: Living with our Relatives by Manjulika Singh

When I was a little girl, I remember my mother telling me that animals living around us are actually our own relatives of the past. That is the reason we should love them and take care of them. Human beings are supposed to have a more developed brain than other living creatures. By the same token, humans are expected to have more compassion and kindness towards fellow human beings and other living creatures on this planet. As civilisation developed over the years, our ancestors discovered the art of growing cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables as edibles. Unfortunately, human beings had times when they fought wars against each other due to developing greed, known in Sanskrit as ‘the Lobha’ and there was a paucity of resources, including food. A search for an alternative ways of having enough to eat started. They began experimenting by killing animals and eating them. They discovered that animal flesh provided adequate nutrition for them. This resulted in mass production of animals on an industrial scale by using whatever artificial means and techniques were available from time to time. The overall economic benefit of this was apparent as this was the preferred method of feeding the world at a cheaper cost than by producing cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables. The fact that animals also need due respect, dignity and right to live was totally ignored in view of successful commercialism and short-term benefits for the

materialistic world. Animals in contrast, love and care for human beings. As we are aware, Sattvic food maintains a peaceful temperament and non-violence, ahimsa, in a very subtle way. Vegetarianism breeds compassion and respect for all living beings, the principle of ahimsa. In the religion called Jainism non-violence is practised to the greatest possible extent in everyday life by abstaining from using any product derived from the killing of animals. They also provide food for living creatures around them, according to their capability. From time to time, a wrong message has been conveyed to the public at large that vegetarian food is deficient in adequate nutrition for the human body and should be supplemented by various meat products. In fact, it is possible to consume a balanced vegetarian food and vegetables with fruits, adequate for human nutrition. On the contrary, it is the meat products of various kinds which result in a myriad of disorders in the body and doctors have to caution their patients to modify their food habits. Diseases like appendicitis, cancer of the colon, are more commonly encountered in non-vegetarians. Living in harmony with animals has great advantages to both humans and animals. I stick to my mother’s notion and feel that animals are our relatives. Following this view makes life feel very happy and satisfying.

For information on Yoga Scotland membership, regional events, classes, training courses and more... Visit our website:

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Arran weekend Photos: Pete Gibbens

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Reviews Yoga: the Early Story. Seeking the Source by Gill Lloyd from www.lulu.com/spotlight/Gill_Lloyd or Gill.lloyd@blueyonder.co.uk This small book is a distillation of Gill’s many years of study of the classical yoga texts. It charts yoga’s progress through the texts giving references. By doing this, it provides a useful summary on the history of yoga for new students. In addition, it is a valuable tool for teachers of all levels since it signposts where to look for more detailed information in the major yoga texts. This is done without overlaying it with interpretation from a particular yoga school or tradition. In Gill’s own words – ‘Yoga teachers often get asked the questions “where did yoga start”, “how old is it”, “what was its original purpose” etc. This book should make the answering of these questions easier...It may also provide a stimulus for further study for those so minded.‘ Ann Hunter

Yogi Ashokananda, The Power of Relaxation. Align your Body, your Mind and your Life through Meditation Watkins Publishing, 2015 Yogi Ashokananada’s first book draws on his many years of experience teaching yoga and meditation. Born in India and now based in London, he runs retreats and workshops throughout Europe and is regarded as a master of meditation. The book is beautifully illustrated and presented, with a range of practices, clearly described, and photographs and diagrams to guide the reader through the 40 or so exercises within. The six chapters begin with an introduction to his approach to meditation, written in a down-to-earth and accessible manner, seeing meditation as a path to ‘relaxing into’ our true authentic self, without denying or avoiding the negative thoughts or difficult emotions common to us all. He encourages us to clear the pathways to our highest self, to rid ourselves of our samskaras, but to do this by engaging the body and the senses, to allow meditation to happen through the body. So there is much to draw upon within the book for teachers wishing to deepen the experience of their yoga students or their own practice. The first chapter, the Power of You, introduces the reader to the importance of relaxation for the nervous system and the physical body, recent scientific and medical research into meditation, a short history of Indian philosophy, and an outline of the subtle body and the chakra system, including the links with the endocrine system. The following chapter, The Power of the Breath, introduces the practice of pranayama, its physical and psychological benefits and how it helps us to connect with our true internal strength. Chapter three takes us through the Strength within the body, with breath and movement exercises to activate Kundalini energy, further breathwork and meditations to activate our awareness of the chakras, and an outline of bandhas and mudras to further our awareness of the subtle body. Chapter four, The Primordial Power of Sound, introduces the effects

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of sound vibration and its ability to tap into the ancient memory of our own source of creation. The practice of the beej mantras and their corresponding chakra are outlined, as is the Gayatri Mantra and the practice of AUM to open the chakras. Chapters five and six take us Beyond the Duality of Life and into Total Relaxation, exploring the opposite forces within us and the need to shine a light on the shadow side of our mind, rather than deny and seek only the positive. The practices include meditation on the eyes, and moving further into awareness of the third eye, bringing the left and right sides, the ida and pingala, together, drawing earth energy into the body and meditating on the atma or true self. What makes the book particularly accessible are not only the clear step-by-step instructions for each practice, but the division of the practices into colour codes, dependent on their level of difficulty. So each chapter contains some chosen from the simpler, orange-coded practices such as the mudras, or engaging the chakras, but may also include the yellow-, green- or blue-coded practices, moving deeper from, for example Ujayi breathing to Stimulating the Medulla, to Activating Kundalini. This enables the reader to access the whole book, but perhaps stay with the simpler levels of practice, before moving deeper. My only concern would be that some of the practices coded green or blue may be quite difficult to work through without an experienced teacher (e.g. 45 minutes on expanding awareness of the aura), although many such as Trataka and full yogic breath are more familiar to the yoga student or teacher. In any case, some of the practices are available to the reader to download, so this may help with the more esoteric ones. On the whole though, there is a lot to learn from Yogi’s accessible approach and clearly outlined theory and the many exercises described within this lovely book. Claire Rodgers

I Met a Monk by Rose Elliot Watkins Publishing, 2015 Rose Elliot’s latest book, I Met a Monk, is a very accessible introduction to an eight-week Buddhist mindfulness course. Robert, Rose’s husband, who had previously been involved in the Chithurst Monastery in Hampshire, organised for one of the monks, the Venerable Bhante, to lead a course in their home. In the preface Rose invites the reader to follow and practise the course over an eight-week period, which would be helpful for anyone who isn’t familiar with mindfulnessbased techniques. However, in any practical course like this, the relationship with the teacher and the rest of the group can enrich and deepen the learning process, as Rose discovers for herself. She clearly describes her own process as well as the teachings over the two months. The poignant epilogue highlights the importance of the timing of this course for Rose as she is now more able to accept the situation that she and Robert find themselves in and she can truly embrace the healing power of gratitude and metta.


Yoga SCOTLAND The book is split into chapters for each of the eight sessions of the course. Rose cleverly weaves character descriptions of the course participants (most of whom she has never met before), humour, Theravadan Buddhist concepts and theory and clear practical instruction into each of these chapters. The main theoretical underpinnings are the two pillars of Buddhism, mindfulness and metta, and the Four Noble Truths. As yoga practitioners, we are familiar with the concepts and many of the practices, even though there are differences in terminology and emphasis. For example, the five hindrances and attachment to desire are similar to the kleshas; concepts such as acceptance, intention, attention, alertness, loving kindness, space, freedom, peace and bliss are universal; the mantra buh-dho is similar to so-hum etc. The book is particularly useful as a practice manual due to the fact that Rose concludes each chapter with a couple of pages of ‘quick review’ and ‘practice’, plus a short meditation practice in several of the chapters. There is an emphasis on the importance of practice, which ultimately is the key to

success no matter what technique or discipline one is practising. The monk uses delightful stories and analogies to clarify his teaching. To take but one example: in response to a question, he says that genuine compassion contains both wisdom and loving kindness and that we have to be careful not to get caught up in dogma. He illustrates this by the wonderful tale of a young monk refusing to help a woman over a river because ‘monks are not allowed to touch a woman’. If you don’t already know this story, then I suggest you read the book! I highly recommend this book, especially for anyone who is not familiar with Buddhist terminology. Rose clearly describes the main concepts of the Buddha’s teaching and gives simple, practical practices which are very accessible. She emphasises the need for both inner work (meditation, mindfulness, metta and the practice of the first three Noble Truths) and outer work (fourth Noble Truth i.e. how we lead our lives). Above all, it is regular practice that bears fruit. Sue McLennan

From Yoga School Dropout to

Down Dog BILLIONAIRE

Down Dog Billionaire Down Billionaire is a co comedy medy of errors errors for for an anyy w woman oman who who’s’s dr dreamt eamt of a big ccareer areer oon n the cor corporate porate stag stagee and ended up cr crying ying in the loo loo.. It’s’s feel-g eel-good fictio fiction commentary mmentar y oon n the difficult difficultyy of finding It ffeel-good n with substance – a co work w ork that satisfies both the eg egoo and the soul, a timel timelyy examinatio examination n of our obsessio obsession n with yyoga oga pants and youth, youth, with rrich ich lists and quic quickk fix fixes, es, celebr celebrity ity and selfies, and journey towards self-acceptance a jour ney to wards self-a cceptance and happiness. bright new hiree at a lux luxee global yyoga byy ex-Cit ex-Cityy bo boy, y, Meg is a br ight eeyed yed ne w hir oga giant oowned wned b Max, but when S Shine hine thr threatens eatens N Nate’s ate’s smal small, l, but belo beloved, ved, neighbour neighbourhood hood yyoga oga studio she is for fforced orced to make a cchoice. hoice. Is she to be a buff-bodied, cor corporate porate gir girl, l, circling heartt lie closer cir cling the globe and dating her sexy, sexy, ccharismatic harismatic boss, or does her hear closer to home, home, with the gr granola anola guy up the rroad oad and her oown wn soul-fir soul-fired ed business? The boo bookk was inspired inspired b byy the dilemmas of L Lucy’s ucy ’s oown wn life life jour journey. ney. A boar board d le level vel knew crying search Lucy kne for life’s life life’s aad d exec, exec, Lucy w a thing or ttwo wo about cr ying in the loo and her sear ch for well memoir,, Yoga Dropout. deeper meaning is w ell documented in the cclassic lassic memoir Yog ogaa School School D ropout. Like Meg, Meg, she’ she’s balanced bitchy bitchy colleagues, colleagues, mean bosses temptation and men being men, with the never-ending ne nevver-ending temptation of chocolate. chocolate. These days days she spends the time she’ day she’s not devouring KitKats writing books ks and cr creating eating dev de vouring KitK ats wr w riting boo YogaClicks; Y ogaClicks; a soul-fired soul-fired partnership partnership with her husband David – a place place for for the global community communit unityy to find, love lovve lo and live live their yyoga. oga. manager willl make a successful Her bank manag er hopes she wil transition tr ansition fr from om D Dropout ropout to Bil Billionaire. lionaire.

Contact Co ntact lucy@luc luc lucy@lucyedge.com y@lucyyedge.com y@luc ffor or rreview eview copies, articles articles and interviews. inter views.

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Yoga SCOTLAND 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works – A True Story by Dan Harris Yellow Kite, 2014 Dan Harris is an American journalist who has had, as he describes it himself, ‘a panic attack on national television’. He describes his relation to stress and anxiety in a very competitive – but also visual – world. Whilst at first a sceptic, he decided to learn more about self-help and meditation. These really helped him to get better – or at least, as he puts it, 10% happier than before. Which really is not a bad start, let’s be honest. Dan Harris particularly insists on the influence that both the writing of Dr Mark Epstein and Buddhist ideas have had on him. I read this book because I have been extremely dubious about self-help and the recent meditation trend myself. This is actually, in my opinion, the great strength of this book: it does not target people who already love meditation, but more those who think that meditation has nothing – scientifically proven – to offer. It does so in a humorous way, which can indeed appeal to people who avoid the dramatic and serious tone of many, if not most, self-help books. This text helps readers to see that we can indeed decide and become who we want, and that there is no magic involved. The only thing involved is training. This book will also be of particular interest to those living a life modelled by capitalist values and requirements. Or, in other words, a life many enjoy and/or accept but would like to experience under less strain. I must however admit that this was quite an issue for me as I was reading this book. Isn’t there a bigger question here? Should we use such tools to accommodate our busy and incredibly stressful lifestyles, or should we use these tools to question these lifestyles and make drastic changes to avoid the never-ending stress, exhaustion and frustration of a forever connected, competition-led existence? The author briefly touches on the issue: ‘As excited as I was about the notion of popularizing the practice, the concerns of some of my old-school Buddhist friends, including Mark Epstein, did give me pause. The traditionalists did not appreciate the irony of capitalists and marines embracing a practice with a history of disdaining violence and accumulation of wealth. They worried that mindfulness would simply create better babykillers and robber barons. They pointed derisively to the proliferation of books such as Mindfulness for Dummies, The Mindful Investor, and The Joy of Mindful Sex. Critics had a term for this phenomenon: “McMindfulness.” There was something important being overlooked, they argued, in the mainstreaming of meditation – a central plank in the Buddhist platform: compassion.’ (p. 178) Unfortunately, the book doesn’t really offer a deeper approach to this, and it would be up to you, the reader, to pursue this reflection. Finally, although a book which does not take itself seriously may attract the non-believer [in meditation], it can also hurt people who are depicted in a caricatural way. By the way, political correctness really isn’t the author’s priority. As an example, I’ll quote this: ‘Meditation suffers from a towering PR problem, largely because its most prominent proponents talk as if they have a perpetual pan flute accompaniment. If you can get past the cultural baggage,

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though, what you’ll find is that meditation is simply exercise for your brain. It’s a proven technique for preventing the voice in your head from leading you around by the nose. To be clear, it’s not a miracle cure. It won’t make you taller or better-looking, nor will it magically solve all of your problems. You should disregard the fancy books and the famous gurus promising immediate enlightenment. In my experience, meditation makes you 10% happier. That’s an absurdly unscientific estimate, of course. But still, not a bad return on investment.’ (p. xiv) There is therefore an ongoing ambivalence in Harris’s writing towards meditation practitioners. However, if this ambivalence crystallises what many people think, it might indeed be extremely liberating for readers. After his first meditation exercise, the author declares: ‘When I opened my eyes, I had an entirely different attitude about meditation. I didn’t like it, per se, but I now respected it. This was not just some hippie time-passing technique, like Ultimate Frisbee or making God’s Eyes. It was a rigorous brain exercise: rep after rep of trying to tame the runaway train of the mind. The repeated attempt to bring the compulsive thought machine to heel was like holding a live fish in your hands. Wrestling your mind to the ground, repeatedly hauling your attention back to the breath in the face of the inner onslaught required genuine grit. This was a badass endeavour.’ (p. 101) Lou Sarabadzic

Calm: Calm the Mind, Change the World by Michael Acton Smith Penguin, 2015 This book is a great present for the new technologies fan – there is even an accompanying app you can download for your phone. The book’s layout evokes that of many social networks, blogs and websites: it consists of a collection of short texts, exercises and motivational phrases, printed on beautiful landscapes and poetic backgrounds. It would typically appeal to anyone who likes to share inspirational quotations of the day on their Facebook page. This book will teach readers valuable lessons in an engaging and gentle way. For instance: ‘If someone were to offer you a pill that, within a few days, would make you feel calmer and more energised, for free, with no side effects, you’d take it. And if they told you the same “pill” could combat depression, shrink your waistline, improve your capacity for focus and productivity at work, regulate your hormones and boost your immunity, you might suspect they were exaggerating. And yet… sleep does all of these things and more. But there’s that extra box-set episode to watch, last-minute email to draft, the laundry to sort. Sleep gets sidelined.’ (pages unnumbered) The fact that it presents a mix of short texts and beautiful pictures – not to mention its lovely calming shades of blue – makes it the perfect object to keep on the coffee table, to read a few pages every once in a while. Chapters and sections do not require any linear reading. However, just as with Dan Harris’s non-fiction text, one might regret that this book never really suggests reflecting deeply on the values and principles of a common anti-calm environment, which is that of very competitive and stressful company jobs. Most of the time, when such companies and their models are mentioned, it is to explain how they could


Yoga SCOTLAND benefit from meditation and mindfulness. One could therefore argue that the very essence and cultural development of mindfulness and meditation undermine the capitalist and ‘free market’ logic behind these models. Here is probably the most obvious example of such ‘free market’ promotion of mindfulness: ‘The reason “well-being” has migrated from the marginal to the mainstream, says Arianna Huffington, is that businesses are finally seeing it for what it is: “[It’s] the best way, indeed the only way, to maximize not just happiness but fulfilment and productivity, creativity, and, yes, profit. It’s the only sustainable way forward, not just for individuals but for companies, communities and the planet”, she argues. A passionate advocate of the benefits of mindfulness, she has introduced meditation rooms at the Huffington Post. BP and eBay also have meditation spaces in their offices, Goldman Sachs uses meditation pods, and everyone from accounting blue-chips to drug companies, and tech leaders Google, Facebook and Etsy, have embraced a new culture of calm.’ Meditation and mindfulness practitioners alike may not be thrilled at the idea of maximising profit and being appropriated by a culture of productivity and highly tiring jobs. To end on a more positive note, perhaps we could say that at least this book could allow people who feel like they have no choice other than to work in such anti-calm environments to at least enjoy their professional lives more… In the hope that they can also question why they are not enjoying it so much since stress and pressure often seem to be their closest companions. Lou Sarabadzic

Yoga & Mantra At Beattock Village Hall (half mile from junction 15 A74)

Saturday 28th November 2015 10am-4pm

Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation & Mantra Chanting with Jackie Le Brocq Ali & Judie Freeman Cost £30

Bring a vegetarian dish to share Well equipped kitchen, teas/coffee provided

Bookings & payments to: Jackie Le Brocq Jackie.lebrocq1@btinternet.com Gardenholm, Annan Water, Moffat DG10 9LS or Telephone 01683 220981

Next SSYT Yoga Therapy Training Course starts September 2016 18 month IYN registered diploma course Also a new massage training course for massage therapists and/or yoga teachers

Chavutty Thirumal S Indian Ayurvedic massage by foot For dates and further information about either of the above courses:

www.scottishschoolofyogatherapy.co.uk Email: info.ssyt@gmail.com

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Detoxification with Yoga and Healing Herbs by Maureen Robertson and Debra Adam What is detoxification? There are many definitions for detoxification. Most people associate detoxing with some kind of fasting and perceived deprivation, but basically the body is constantly detoxing itself all the time: when we get a good night's sleep for example, or when the body digests food and eliminates waste through the colon, skin, urinary system, lymph and lungs and we mentally and emotionally detox through meditation. One way of looking at why we should detox is the concept that the tendency for bad habits which allow toxins to build up in our bodies is some kind of karmic debt manifesting this time round. Physical residues of our habits can accumulate to develop into a toxic state. When you think about addictions which can keep us in an out-of-balance, unhealthy state, we see how toxicity has an energy of its own which can perpetuate a condition. Cravings for a certain type of food, pharmacologically-active substance or co-dependent relationship is an example of this in action. Our bodies as microcosm of the planet The toxicity of the planet could be thought of as a reflection as the toxicity of our own mind and body made manifest. We have a calling we can choose to respond to regarding moving forward spiritually and physically towards cleansing and rejuvenation not only of ourselves but of the planet through a strong intention for purification. Yogic and Ayurvedic Practices for Detoxification The Kriyas are long-established cleansing yogic practices which have stood the test through the ages as effective means of cleansing, tonifying and rejuvenating. Twists which stimulate the digestive processes and Kundalini practices like breath of fire (Kapalabhati) also increase metabolism and the digestive fire or agni. The Yoga Sutra defines Kriya yoga with three main considerations: Tapas are practices that can help us remove blocks and tensions both physical and mental. Svadhyaya means searching asking questions, looking into ourselves, acting without being motivated by outcome. Isvarapranidhana is not about what your yoga can do for you, but about approaching your practice in the spirit of offering. The Three Doshas of Ayurveda and the Five Elements We can explore the elements Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Ether and the effect breathing and movement coordinated in a controlled way can have on the three mind body principles or doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. In the physical body earth corresponds to the flesh and bones, the water element to blood, lymph and serum; the fire element to bodily heat; the air element to breathing and the space element to the function of the mind. The proper function of all the systems of the body is further dependent on five main pranas or winds. 1 The life-sustaining prana moves within the head and thorax and in the channels of the sense organs. 2 The ascending prana circulates throughout the tongue, nose, throat and into the channels of the senses.

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3 The pervasive prana circulates throughout the body, mainly through the blood vessels and sensory nerves. 4 The fire-accompanying prana resides in the stomach and bowels. 5 The downward-clearing prana is located in the pelvic region and circulates in the lower organs. Herbal Medicine and Detoxification Herbal medicine traditions all agree on the principle that you cannot successfully undertake a detoxification process without a strong nutritional base. In Ayurveda, this is often seen in the classic 'Kitcheri fast' of mung bean and basmati rice with appropriate spices for the different doshas. The simplicity of one type of food is relatively easy to digest, leaving the body with the ability to begin dealing with the backlog of other undigested or toxic accumulation deeper in the tissues. Determination of the what dosha predominates for your temperament helps inform which herbs or spices will best support the process. For example, hot, firey constitutional or 'pitta' dosha types would benefit from the addition of cooling yet moving spices like turmeric (Curcuma longa) or coriander (Coriandrum sativa). Cooler, heavier water/earth or ‘kapha' types would find improved digestion with warmer, drier spices like cayenne pepper (Capsicum minimum) and mustard seed (Sinapsis nigra/alba), whereas air constitutional types with 'vata' dosha would benefit from warming, moving culinary herbs like cardamon (Elettaria cardamonum) and cumin (Cumimum cyminum). Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seeds are tri-doshic and are helpful for all dosha types. Once a person's constitutional type or dosha has been assessed by taking a case review/history, the best type of detox can be determined, for example vata types cannot tolerate prolonged fasting such as moving onto a juice or water-only fast and they would benefit more from the kitcheri fast and limiting the duration of the fasting time. They would also find great relief from nourishing, omegarich oils both internally and given as a restorative enema to nourish the colon where excess vata qualites can accumulate. Kapha types have the most resilience to longer-term fasting and could even tolerate 'therapeutic vomiting' which removes heaviness from the stomach which is the seat of accumulated kapha in the body. Pitta types have the strongest willpower and can mentally endure medium duration of fasting and detox, benefitting from digestive stimulant herbs like dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) and artichoke leaves (Cynara scolymus) to purge high pitta excess which accumulates in the small intestine. Massage with vatacalming oils like sesame seed, pitta-calming oils like sunflower and coconut and kapha-calming oils like mustard is always a helpful adjunct to aid detoxification. It is always important to follow up any cleansing detox with nutritive herbs such as the mineral-rich seaweed kelp (Ascophylum nodosum), nettles (Urtica dioica) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and tonifying adaptogens like Siberian ginseng (Eleuterococcus senticosus) and Gotu kola (Centella asiatica). To make sure you address the constitutional support


Yoga SCOTLAND required by each dosha type, it is best to consult a qualified herbalist, Ayurvedic physician or naturopath to advise the best form of detox and for how long according to your type. The Equinoxes are a good time of year to undertake detoxification, either just before or just after winter to prevent build-up of heaviness before moving into winter or treatment of build-up afterwards.

This autumn Equinox, there is an opportunity to join Yoga Scotland teacher Debra Adam and Medical Herbalist Maureen Robertson (MSc MNIMH) at the inspiring and relaxing Monte Mariposa Retreat Centre in the Algarve, Portugal for a tailor-made Yoga Detox with Healing Herbs either for a long weekend (4 days, 3 nights) or a full week. For more details see www.theherbalpath.net or www.montemariposa.co.uk.

EQUINOX YOGA DETOX WITH HEALING HERBS AT MONTE MARIPOSA RETREAT CENTRE, ALGARVE, PORTUGAL with Registered Yoga Scotland Teacher Debra Adam & Medical Herbalist Maureen Robertson MSc MNIMH

Includes herbal constitutional assessment and remedies, massage, sweat lodge & your own cabin near the pool (sandy beach nearby). The centre is nestled in a beautiful and tranquil environment creating a harmonious and supportive atmosphere for you to experience an enjoyable retreat.

FRI 25TH-MON 28TH SEPT £395 or to SAT 2ND OCT £795 www.theherbalpath.net www.montemariposa.net Tel (0044) 07964 839 416

Yoga Workshops with Ann Hunter Saturday 10.00 – 13.00 5 September, 3 October, 7 November, 5 December 2015 United Reformed Church, 69 Johnstone Drive, Rutherglen, G73 2QA An opportunity for teachers and advanced students to deepen their knowledge and explore aspects of yoga not normally covered in weekly classes

£15 Small group so booking essential Email ann@athunter.plus.comor tel 0141 647 1817

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Yoga SCOTLAND

Yoga with June Mercer Yoga with June is a gentle practice to bring powerful changes to strengthen the body while stilling the mind. June’s yoga has been guided over the last 20 years by ‘’Scaravelli inspired’ teachers Yoga holiday to Kissamos in North West Crete • 16th -23rd September 2015 Back to the lovely Hotel Peli for the 5th year! The venue has a swimming pool and is just across from the beach. Two guided walks included. Details from www.westcreteholidays.com. To book tel Lynne on 01332833417/email bookingwch@hotmail.co.uk There will be a group travelling from Glasgow to Chania. Be Moved – a workshop of joyful free expression • Saturday 21st November 2015 10am-1pm in

Abbotsgrange Church Hall in Grangemouth. Join June and Sarena Wolfaard (5Rhythms teacher and Open Floor Apprentice) in 3 hours of embodied movement. We will explore how we are moved from the yoga mat up to our feet - moving inwards and outwards in the space. We will be danced, with music and without, and come to rest on our mats, with breath and awareness of how we are in the moment. Suitable for all. Cost: £20. Contact June to book

Make space at Xmas • Saturday 19th December 2015 10am – 1pm ish ......movement, asana , meditation and veggie mince pies; celebrate with June in the Greenpark Centre, Polmont. Cost £25. To book contact June Some photos of previous holidays on Facebook junesyoga June runs regular weekly yoga classes in Central Scotland. Details on the website www.junesyoga.com Contact June on 07835835919 or email june@junesyoga.com

Saturday 12th March 2016 • 10am - 4pm June is bringing her teacher John Stirk to the Greenpark Centre, Polmont, Central Scotland (easy walking distance from Polmont station or a short drive from J4 off the M9)

Introductory course An opportunity to explore the rich & influential tradition of Professor T Krishnamacharya and his son, TKV Desikachar. This course is suitable for students who wish to develop & deepen their personal practice and study of yoga; and/or to prepare for teacher training. It will run over 12 Saturdays 10.00 – 17.00 starting February 2016 at Crossgates Community Centre, 2 Inverkeithing Road Dunfermline,Fife KY4 8AL (Just off the Halbeath interchange on the M90) Information morning to be held on 14th November 2015 10.00 – 13.00 at Crossgates community centre, Fife. . TSYP is a British Wheel of Yoga accredited group; Janet is a TSYP & advanced BWY teacher

For further details please contact Janet Reid 07876306147 Janet@atha-yogatherapy.com 42


Yoga Scotland

Become a Yoga Scotland Member! Yoga Scotland has been supporting Yogis for over 40 years and is recognised by Sport Scotland as the Governing Body for Yoga in Scotland. Our members are made up of students, Yoga enthusiasts, teachers, student teachers and retired teachers. As well as keeping our members informed of classes and workshops we also run training courses. These include the Foundation Course, Living Yoga Study Group and our professional yoga Teacher Training Course.

Yoga Scotland offers two types of membership, Ordinary and Teacher Our Ordinary Members receive the following benefits: ■

Three issues of the Yoga Scotland magazine per year

Opportunity to meet other yoga practitioners throughout Scotland

Hot off the press news for Yoga Scotland events / holidays

Member’s discount to Yoga Scotland events

Invitation to free Yoga Scotland Spring Seminar

Have the opportunity to apply for Yoga Scotland courses (Foundation Course, Living Yoga, Teacher Training)

Free 1/8 page advertisement in the Yoga Scotland magazine and website

As well as the Ordinary Member’s benefits, the Teacher Membership offers: ■

Membership of a Scotland-wide network of teachers

Insurance

Access to a varied programme of ongoing training seminars

Advice on teaching issues such as the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

Trade price plus free delivery on goods from The Yoga Shop UK

Visit our website http://www.yogascotland.org.uk/membership/ to join today! www.yogascotland.org.uk Scottish Charity Number SCO20590

sportscotland

Governing Body for Yoga in Scotland

Yoga Scotland Magazine Issue 48 September 2015  

Theme: Practising Ahimsa: Living with Animals cover Paulie Zink

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