January 2018 Issue

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श्रीभगवानुवाच | कालोऽस्मि लोकक्षयकृत्प्रवृद्धो लोकान्समाहर्तुमिह प्रवृत्त: | ऋतेऽपि त्वां न भविष्यन्ति सर्वे येऽवस्थिता: प्रत्यनीकेषु योधा: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 11 Verse 32.


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Issue 55 • January 2018




Having their say in our

Student Blog Jane Chalmers (pictured) and Norman Boyle The wonders of

Pranayama By Carol Godridge A Journey through

The Chakras The

with Sarah Ryan

Great Transformation by Sahara Devi

WOMENZONE Weekend with Lorraine Close Walk the path of

Karma Yoga with Michael McCann

PLUS: Interview with Timo Jimenez PUBLISHED BY YOGA SCOTLAND

www.yogascotland.org.uk Scottish Charity Number SCO47418


Governing Body for Yoga in Scotland

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Contents 14



















Regulars Welcome

News and Views Reviews

Yogic Cook

View from a Bike

Guidelines and notes


Meeting Deva

Interview: It was part of my Dharma Student Blog: Be Yourself A Sense of Freedom

Soapbox: Finding Stillness Student Blog: Born to Run

Not Just Asana Pranayama

The Chakras

Massive Outpouring of Love

A Great Transformation

Yoga as Therapy

Womenzone weekend

The Path of Karma Yoga


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32 years out of school, with only O’level Art to my name (I did get an A!) and no formal education since... In a moment of madness, I volunteered to edit this magazine! Immediately I began to regret it... you must be joking Mick! Have you lost the plot? To my pleasant surprise, not only has it been less daunting than I expected, but I’ve actually found it quite enjoyable. I know that I will have missed things out, forgot to dot a few I’s and cross a few T’s, but, overall, I’m pretty happy with what’s going to the printers. I’ve had a fair bit of help from friends, as well as Yoga Scotland colleagues, for which; me being the proverbial


monkey with a typewriter, I am eternally grateful! The organisation has seen some changes of late. I would like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing committee members: Joy Charley, Judie Ritchie, Kirsty Davidson and Val Belk for their service and dedication to Yoga Scotland and wish them all the best, with their new found free time! Enjoy. Usually the Chairperson’s report would be at the front of the magazine but as it is rather lengthy, due to recent structural changes and the need to put membership of the EUROPEAN UNION of YOGA to the vote, I felt it more appropriate to put it at the back. You will find Gill’s report under the heading of ‘View from a bike!’ on page 41. I would also like to give special thanks to our outgoing Editor Carol Godridge, not just for being on the end of the phone and email when I needed her, but also, for cunningly feeding me most of the content for this issues theme, without me initially realising it! While the most common perception of yoga is making shapes with the body, in this issue, we are running with the theme of NOT JUST ASANA. What fantastic content we have received in response! For the next issue, out on the first of May, our theme will be YOGA AND SPORT. No, not yoga AS sport... but a focus on how practicing yoga is transforming the world of sport, from jujitsu to football, to tennis, to boxing, and on all levels. From sporting for pleasure, to boosting the performance and lengthening the careers of world class athletes. You may also notice a change of magazine format and style, which hopefully you will find pleasurable and easy to read. For the first time ever, we have a cover price of £3. Naturally, still FREE to members, but, we on the committee, felt it was time to broaden the horizons of the organisation, through the medium of the magazine. Reaching out to the many yoga studios as well as organisations with whom we now share the field. As Joy Charley pointed out in the last issue “the importance of remaining relevant” is absolutely paramount. In a bid to reach out and maybe play some form of maternal role in the Scottish yoga community, we will be working with studios and other outlets, in offering the yogic public the chance to buy a magazine that bucks the prevailing trend of the body beautiful and sometimes elitist, shelf fillers we have at present. So please! Keep sending us the interesting and high standard of quality articles we are used to. Finally, if you find you have sent copy, or a book or CD for review and it’s not in this issue, please accept my apologies, it’s a pretty steep learning curve and you may have been overlooked due to technical ineptitude on my part, rather than not making the grade, so as to speak. Please do email me any enquiries in relation to this. ONE LOVE, PEOPLE GET READY. Mick Gallagher, Editor

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News and Views The revolution will be Yogavised! 2018 will see the launch of a revolutionary new approach to taking yoga to where it’s most needed! A Community Interest Company (CIC) Based at the Phoenix Community Centre in Easterhouse, Glasgow, will be rolling out classes to help local residents self manage a multitude of issues from, social isolation, anxiety and depression as well as obesity and much more, through the provision of regular yoga classes. Study after study flags up working-class communities as being the most in need of direct intervention regarding physical and mental health issues. Where this intervention often falls down is in relation to WHO is doing the intervening and WHY? “For too long various agencies have parachuted into this community thinking that they know what’s best for us, TELLING us what’s needed, never thinking to ASK... We live here, we know this community, these are our people, we instinctively know what’s best for our own health and wellbeing, we welcome any genuine help we receive, with open arms but for change to be truly effective and long lasting it must be community led and organised. We aim to put YOGA at the heart of change in Easterhouse.” Richard Mcshane, Development Director at the Phoenix. Outreaching from the Phoenix to other working-class communities as the project expands. For yoga to be truly universal it must be democratised. In neighbourhoods where economics, social isolation and ill health prove to be major barriers to access, affordable, easily accessible classes must be

an option. This innovative venture has a dedicated team, sourcing funding to guarantee continuity of the project. Keep your eyes peeled!

UPLIFT Free yoga movies... A great source of free movies about yoga, from anatomy to spirituality, Uplift has it all covered. A wide range of films detailing the scientifically proven benefits of various yoga practices to interviews with the Dalai Lama and Ana Forrest. Just sign up for free at: upliftconnect.com

Prison yoga mat victory! Until recently prisoners in England in Wales could not have a yoga mat in their cells as part of their personal property. A combination of red tape and a lack of updating rules and regulations deemed a yoga mat to be ‘contraband!’. After a challenge from a prisoner at HMP Frankland, made to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, presented by the Prison Phoenix Trust, on the grounds of health and safety, common sense prevailed. If there is any section of society most in need of and ideally suited to taking up and maintaining a yoga practice it surely has to be prisoners. “The degree of civilisation in society is revealed by entering its prisons.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky .


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Standardised yoga? Following up on Cath Swans article in the previous issue of YS magazine, SKILLS ACTIVE, the body responsible for setting up and maintaining NOS (National Occupational Standards) met in Glasgow in late November 2017. NOS are set up with the intention of setting basic minimum standards and a benchmark for good practice. Once we have more feedback and processed recent developments we will give you a fuller update in the May issue.

Yoga Scotland change of status So, we are a SCIO – so what? As of 1st August 2017 Yoga Scotland became Yoga Scotland SCIO. The letters stand for Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. This brief article is intended to let you know the reasons behind the change, the effects of this change and the difference it will make to the way we operate.

The legalities A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation is a legal structure which has been purpose built for the charity sector in Scotland. It provides limited liability and a separate legal identity to organisations that are or want to become charities but do not want or need the complex structure of company law and all the extra administrative requirements that go with this. This means that even the smallest charity can access the benefits of incorporation, including limited liability and legal capacity, without the disadvantages.

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 25 years by ‘’Scaravelli inspired ‘’ teachers

Yoga in Orkney 21st – 27th July 2018 June is looking forward to teaching in Stenness again this year. Join us for a week of yoga, or a weekend or some long morning sessions. Suitable for all.... for details and to book contact June Yoga holiday to Kissamos in North West Crete... 12th -19th September 2018 Back to the lovely Hotel Peli for the 8th year! The venue has a swimming pool and is just across from the beach. Two guided walks available Yoga workshop with June’s teacher John Stirk Saturday 10th March 2018 in Greenpark Centre, Polmont

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 Facebook junesyoga


Why? Yoga Scotland has always been a charity. Charitable status is a privilege, as charities attract favourable tax treatment and can also attract several sources of funding only available to registered charities. (A registered charity is one whose charitable activities have been recognised by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator – affectionately known as OSCR). In return for this privilege we as members and particularly as trustees undertake to be open and transparent in our dealings and to work always for the good of the charity, not for personal gain. In other words, we are accountable for our actions and regulated by OSCR. SCIO status adds both to our privileges and our responsibilities. Yoga Scotland has become an entity separate from its members, it is an entity in its own right and as such can, for instance, enter into contracts in its own name, not the name of its trustees. This gives trustees protection, they are no longer personally liable for the debts of the charity as long as they have acted faithfully in their position as trustees. This privilege was previously only available to limited companies. So why did Yoga Scotland chose to become a SCIO rather than a limited company?

The advantages of being a SCIO Administration The administrative burden of a SCIO is less than that of a limited company. For instance we do not have to notify OSCR every time a new member is appointed to the Board of Trustees. This information is simply included in our annual report. Registration We only need to register with OSCR, not with Companies House as well, again saving administration. Accounting We are subject to the accounting requirements of OSCR which are less complex for small organisations such as ours than they would be if we had to comply with Company Law as well. Perception Incorporated bodies are generally regarded by funding bodies and public agencies as more stable than voluntary associations. This makes them more attractive investments. However! As mentioned above, the change in status brings extra responsibility as well as extra privilege. Trustees and members must always act in the interests of the SCIO and in good faith ensure that the SCIO acts in a manner consistent with our charitable objectives. We must be transparent and accountable, we must follow best practice in governance (how we go about things) and be able to prove that we do so, should we ever be challenged. Going forward... Your Board of Trustees undertake to ensure that we take these new responsibilities seriously and put in place policies and procedures recommended by OSCR for organisations of our size and structure. Most of these changes will be ‘invisible’ – simply formalising what we do anyway. Any significant change will of course be communicated to you. So welcome to the world Yoga Scotland SCIO – we will work to ensure your future is healthy, happy and productive. Olive Gardiner, Treasurer.

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Peace on earth Pictured is our outgoing Editor Carol Godridge, with swami Krisnapremananda. While delivering seminars in Scotland, Swami found time to plant a Peace Pole in Carol’s garden that she had won in a raffle! Each of the four sides of the pole have the

words ‘may peace prevail on earth’ inscribed in English, Scots, Tagalog {for Carol’s Filipino daughter in-law} and Sanskrit of course! With over 350,000 of these poles planted around the globe acting like a cosmic acupuncture pin cushion, lets hope it brings Carol much health and healing.

Want to go further with your yoga practice? These courses may be for you.

Foundation Courses 2018-19 On this certificated course you will: ■ Explore yoga in more depth ■ Develop a deeper personal practice and knowledge of yoga ■ Acquire the pre-qualification for progression to the Living Yoga or Teacher Training Courses. Course venues: Aberdeen, Dumfries and Central Scotland Course dates: 10 Saturdays between September 2018 and June 2019. 60 hours in total. Course cost: £555.

Living Yoga Course 2018-19 This advanced, certificated course will give you the opportunity to develop and enrich your experience and knowledge of yoga through experiential practice, workshops and vibrant discussion. It is particularly suitable for Foundation Course Graduates and Qualified Yoga Teachers. Course venue: Central Scotland (to be confirmed) Course dates: 10 Saturdays between September 2018 and June 2019. 60 hours in total. Course cost: £595 Closing dates for course applications: 25 May 2018 Further information and application packs will be available to download from the Yoga Scotland website from 31 January 2017. Contact Elaine Samson, Training Coordinator admin@yogascotland.org.uk Bursaries may be available for those on low income.


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Not just Asana

Pranayama “Arguably the most important part of the yoga class” by Carol Godridge

An American yogi once told me that when she and 400 fellow passengers were stranded on a runway in a 100-degree heat wave without working air conditioning, she dug into her yoga toolkit, got everyone relaxed with abdominal breathing and taught them to cool themselves with sheetalii breath. Such is the magic of pranayama. Swami Vedantananda asked a group of us teachers a few years ago – if one of their classes was in danger of running out of time, what did we cut out? And we all said (rather sheepishly) “pranayama”. She nodded and said that that was what nearly always happened. “And yet,” she continued, “pranayama is arguably the most important part of the class – because you are moving prana.” Some Yoga Scotland members might also remember when Swami Pragyammurti taught at one of the old St Andrews weekends that she made a similar point about the importance of pranayama and, as is her way, put it very pithily, “If you practice asanas without paying attention to the breath,” she pronounced, “you might as well piss off down to the golf club!”

“He who has grasped prana has realised the very core of cosmic life and activity.” So, what is pranayama? According to Swami Niranjananda it is, “a precise science which provides methods to understand the essence of prana and to guide it within oneself. As well as the rest of creation.” And Swami Sivananda adds, “He who has grasped prana has realised the very core of cosmic life and activity. He who conquers and controls this essence is able to control his own body, mind and power in this universe.” Pranayama is practised through the medium of the breath – “where the breath goes, prana flows” – we all learned that mantra when we were training. When we practice pranayama, we take the respiration beyond its normal limit, stretching it, speeding it up or slowing it down as required. So, it is done with that essential ingredient – awareness, aiming to harmonise the flow of energy in the body, or to move it to where it is needed. Swami Shankaracharya makes the point that the mechanics of pranayama practices must been learned, but that we should not confine our practises to


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Yoga SCOTLAND this aspect alone. Additionally, we should teach our students to understand that pranayama is the ‘science of universal energy, universal mind, time, space and matter. It is the system through which the vital, pranic energy that holds the universe together, is dynamised and redistributed at various levels of existence.’

“...imagining the roots growing from their feet into the earth.” Whew! Well that’s cleared that up! But how to do that? So often pranayama is confined to a short section towards the end of the class – maybe five minutes or so, as if it were a separate thing from asana and the other ingredients of the class. But ideally it should be incorporated into the whole class right from the word go. My beginners in their very first class learn to stand in tadasana and to imagine roots growing from their feet into the earth and gently pulling the lower half of the body downwards, whilst a golden string pulls the upper body up towards the ceiling. Not only do I see them visibly grow taller, but in an instant the new students are learning that one brings the mind into yoga postures and that they can lengthen the body by using the mind to send prana down the spine. It’s magic, and they are hooked. We tell our students to ‘breathe into’ the postures, but do we tell them why? Do we tell them that if they visualise sending the prana to that relevant part of the body with each out breath, the body will respond to this injection of energy? Do we also teach them that they can use this skill once it is developed, to help to relieve pain and discomfort and to promote healing? It seems to me that above all students should learn right from the start to send prana to parts of the body that need vital energy when doing asanas. In this way it becomes automatic always to integrate pranayama and asana. About half way through the first term my beginners have developed enough breath awareness to try the hasta mudras, and again they experience the magic of being able to use mudras to change the way the body channels energy. I love seeing their faces when I get them to use chin mudra in one hand and ardhi mudra with the other, and suddenly they feel the involuntary diagonal breath across the lungs – breathing in the top of one lung and the bottom of the other. Suddenly they realise that there is something in all this mudra and prana stuff that I have been banging on about. And they are thrilled.

“What a toolbox we give our students!” In physiological terms conscious breathing with awareness engages the cerebral cortex and stimulates parts of the brain. It has a calming effect on the mind and induces regular and relaxed breathing rhythms. The first step in pranayama is to tune into the rhythm of the breath and thereby to create feelings of relaxation, alpha brain waves and reduced muscle tension. Regular practice gradually awakens the pranas flowing within the body (the prana vayus) and helps to remove blockages in the chakras and the nadis. In turn this brings about the strength and ability to practice pranayama proper. Pranayama proper? According to Patanjali, the actual

pranayama is khumbaka, the period of breath retention – both holding in and holding out. “Pranayama is the pause in the movement of inhalation and exhalation when that is secured.” During khumbaka the oxygen levels in the body fall and the carbon dioxide levels increase, and more capillaries in the brain are opened up to improve cerebral circulation. On a more subtle level, practising pranayama with khumbaka leads to lessening anxiety; the awakening of vital energy; and stimulating static electricity in the blood in minute quantities leading to feelings of improved energy and dynamism... I start to teach Savitri breathing (breathing practices with khumbaka) in the second year – beginning with short and simple patterns of breathing and gradually building them up. Then the students can start to incorporate them and synchronise them with physical movements and asanas and in other pranayama practices such as nadi shodana. What a toolbox we give our students! Even if they are ill, they can practice pranayama and stimulate the pranic flow in the body in any number of ways. For example: Nadi Shodana is so balancing and relaxing, as well as improving mental clarity; bhastrika stimulates the metabolism and boosts pranic energy; bhramari is wonderful for recovery from surgery or other traumas; and if ordinary abdominal breathing is the only possibility, then doing it with awareness and possibly with khumbaka is healing, energising and destressing. Pranayama is wonderful for children and young people too – helping them to deal with stress and conflict, and to enhance their ability to focus on studying. Perhaps next time a class is running over time, it might be good to drop a couple of asanas, and keep up the pranayama teaching! Quotations from: Prana and Pranayama by Swami Niranjananda, Yoga Publications Trust 2009. Carol Godridge trained with Yoga Scotland and then with Satyananda UK. She is currently a Yoga Scotland Foundation Course Tutor and teaches yoga, meditation and remedial yoga in Dumfries and Galloway


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Spring Day of Yoga Pranayama in Perspective: The Five Phases of Progressive Practice with Guest Tutor Philip Xerri Saturday 21st April 2018 10am - 4pm G25 Dance Studio Edinburgh, EH7 6AE YS Members ÂŁ40.00 Non-Members ÂŁ45.00 This event is suitable for all levels of practice Philip was born in Cardiff, Wales and in his youth was an accomplished athlete and rugby player. He studied yoga and pranayama with Dr. Swami Gitananda in India (1980/1981). Since the 1970's he has been practicing yoga and has taught yoga throughout Europe. He teaches a one-year Pranayama Foundation Course and his approach focuses very much on teaching the practices in a structured, progressive, and logical way. G25 Dance Studio is a 15 minute bus journey from Waverley Train Station. The entrance to the parking area is via Restalrig Road South, there is free on-street parking available in close proximity. Detailed travel options will be provided in the booking confirmation nearer the event date. Please bring lunch, Tea and Coffee provided.

Bookings: maria@yogascotland.org.uk


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Meeting Deva! internationally acclaimed singer of mantra by Lindsey Porter. www.yoganuu.com

Pictured left to right: Lindsey Porter, Miten, Deva Premal, Emma Frame It was with some trepidation that I sat facing my computer screen in Falkirk in March 2017. An unfamiliar feeling of being half queasy, half excited filled my being as I was preparing myself for recording the next YEDTalk Yoga Voices podcast. These are a series of interviews with yogi’s from around the world sharing their stories and inspiration. Before I knew it, looking out from the screen in front of me was Deva Premal and Miten sitting side by side on their sofa in Germany. Even with the technology and the physical distance between us I felt a sense of tranquillity and warmth reaching out to me. What followed was a most delightful 30-40 minutes spent talking and interviewing them about their journey into spirituality, being Bhakti yogi’s and of course their wonderful, internationally acclaimed music and yogic mantra.

Fast forward to September 2017 and Deva Premal, Miten and their touring team came to Edinburgh for the first time. What a treat for us yogi’s across Scotland and I was truly honoured to have the blessing of being invited backstage before the concert to meet and chat with them, this time face to face! It seemed as if Deva glided across the room like an angel to greet us followed by a big hug from Miten. There was a great sense of the real yoga community we have in Scotland as we shared singing various mantras and music with Deva Premal, Miten and their group throughout the evening. You can check out their music with over 20 CDs available and find out more at their website on: http://devapremalmiten.com AND you can listen to my interview with them, available free from: http://www.yoganuu.com/yed-talks.html Namaste.

“Deva glided across the room like an angel...”

Yoga with John Stirk

Many of you will already be familiar with the Gayatri Mantra, an ancient highly revered mantra from India still heard in the daily routines of many across India and beyond. Deva sang this mantra on one of their first albums released in 1999 called, The Essence and which today remains at the top of the World & New Age charts. As we neared the end of our interview time, I gave myself a little pinch, took a deep breath and boldly asked if they could share a mantra with me live on the recording. A spontaneous spellbinding mantra came forth in the form of a verse of the Gayatri Mantra by Deva followed by a peace mantra by Deva and Miten.

Saturday 10th March 2018 10am-3.30pm Greenpark Centre, Polmont

(easy walking distance from Polmont station or a short drive from J4 off the M9)

Contact June Mercer to reserve a space june@junesyoga.com tel. 07835835919 11

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It was part of my dharma An interview with TIMO JIMENEZ by Mick Gallagher

Timo Jimenez, when not serving up delicious vegan and vegetarian food or sharing his depth of yogic knowledge, finds time to cycle and walk the dog on a voyage that has taken him from Portland Oregon to Greece to Chicago and now Austin Texas... and many more places in between. Hopefully Scotland will be on the hit list for next year. You can find him on Facebook. MG Hi Timo, firstly, how old where you when you encountered yoga and where you instantly hooked, or did it grow on you? TJ I was 4 or 5, I vaguely recall my father practicing. I used to scour his library when I couldn’t sleep and recall thumbing through some books of Yoga he had collected. It wasn’t until the early 90’s, well into my Chefing career, that I started a formal ‘Inquiry’, but yes, it was immediate. The love for practice, manifest in my 1st Ashtanga Yoga class, after six months of Integral Yoga Lineage study, it was

instantaneous, I remember being in downward – Dog with my breath and sweating the ‘Chefing Toxins’ out, and my mind saying, ”I’m home!” and still at home within it. Quite incredible after two decades plus. MG You have a very complementary twinning of Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga both in your teachings and practice, could you tell us how that came about and how they play out alongside each other? TJ My Initial practice as far as a ‘Commitment’, was with Ashtanga Vinyasa. That began in the early 90’s. I instantly fell in love with the practice. At about year seven it was a colleague of mine that suggested I ‘Check-out’ Iyenger Yoga. So, I went to meet his teacher, which began a very deep investigation and love for the detail of the ‘PyschoPhysiology’ of the practice, which continues to this day, exploring the similarities between the two practices appears to be infinite and is a drive that keeps my curiosity very active. MG You have lived practiced, and taught in many countries as well as all over the U.S. You seem to fall somewhere between a Freebird and a Rolling stone, has yoga motivated this perpetual motion, or been a willing travel companion? TJ Well the ‘Traveling to teach’ element, was not a conscious plan on my part. It was my daily Yoga practice, commitment to my teachers, doing 1 on 1 work with them, and my mat as well as the Yoga Gods revealing it was part of my ‘Dharma’. At about year 15, I answered an ad that a friend sent me. Next thing you know I was on my way to Antwerp, Belgium for five months, with a brief stop in Greece. It was in Greece that I fell in love with the country and people and returned to work as a Chef and teach yoga for a year and have made three 1-year subsequent journeys that essentially covered the entire country, and many Islands and other countries. MG You are also an accomplished vegetarian and vegan chef who successfully integrates teaching yoga and teaching students to cook delicious nutritious meals, how is this working out for you? TJ Well I’m not into ‘imposing’ my own nutritional perspectives on others. Yet if students show interest it’s such a joy to share and experience the joy it can bring to them. So, I’m currently in the process of refining ‘Workshop formats’, that will be inclusive of this element, an ‘option’ so to speak.


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MG What's the next venture on the horizon? TJ I have a number of opportunities, most immediate is a project in Nicaragua that’s slowly manifesting. It’s all inclusive of Chefing, Teaching Yoga, and maintaining two Garden plots as the foundation of a ‘Farm to Table’ sustainable food and Yoga program and retreat and healing ‘destination’. I’m completing a training in what is termed Y12SR, started by Nicki Myers, The Yoga of 12 step recovery. MG Finally Timo, tell us what you love, hate and couldn't care less about? TJ What I couldn’t care less about? Hmmm Many of the old mind sets that I was wasting ‘Prana’ on... i.e... things I have no control over, and cultivating a more positive outlook on the challenge of meeting life on life’s terms.

Can’t have ‘No-caring’ without ‘Caring’. My teacher calls it the paradox of Santosha! Well – ‘Hate’ per se is nonexistent both in vocabulary and essence. There are certain dislikes based on my preferences. Socially, ‘Yogically’, Culinarily, Politically all are quite personal yet say politically, which, for example, Trump, my reactionary mind is dislike, but from a Yoga perspective of Svadvaya, I see it’s as an opportunity to, see the archetypes people like this represent in ourselves. Love: The art and science and essence of Patanjali Yoga, Cycling, Sobriety, Meditation, Traveling, Teaching Yoga’s Gifts it has to offer and creating a platform of both the traditional teachings and evolutionizing those into our western industrialized lives.


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Student Blog


Be Yourself Yoga, Music and Creativity by Jane Chalmers

I don’t think I could survive without my yoga ...and I know through talking to others who have made this part of their life, that they wonder too, how they would manage without it. A good few years ago now, whilst out walking my dog and thinking about my life (which I believe is what you do when you walk your dog!) I decided I would like to concentrate on the things that were important to me; yoga, music and of course my trusty canine companion! I had what felt like an epiphany & realised that I should pursue the path that would lead me to becoming a yoga teacher. Taking on the Teacher Training [TT] has been heaps more work than I expected, even though it was explained (at our interview) that we would need to allocate a fair amount of time to our study and practice... but very, very, worth it. We are blessed to have a great team of teachers on this course and my fellow students are just a wonderful, supportive group.

“I hope I can reach a balance where yoga and music can co-exist and the songs start to flow again.” I always describe myself as a born worrier and in the past have suffered panic attacks, so by nature I’m quite an anxious person. In my music world, I think I must have a different persona onstage, but it took many years to build a confidence in performing. I know yoga has not only relaxed me in my everyday life, but I am sure it has helped with being more relaxed around performing too, contrary to this


though is the fact that I am a firm believer in a healthy dose of adrenalin to focus on a performance! So perhaps this is completely contradictory to my yogic beliefs? Halfway through my first year of TT, I was starting to question if my yoga practice was affecting my creative output as a musician and specifically as a songwriter. All the bands I have been in (with the exception of the Blondie tribute band!) have written their own material and I have enjoyed being part of this creative process; being one of the songwriters. This question was flitting around in the back of my mind. Alongside this were thoughts arising from my study of the Bhagavad Gita (BG), around the aspect of yoga and having a single focus or a “one-pointed mind”. In Chapter 2.40 – 45, the BG discusses that if you follow your Dharma (your path, the right way to carry out your life) then the effort to do this never goes to waste (especially in developing some spiritual awareness) and it helps develop a singleness of purpose. I’ll quote from this chapter, as the characters in the story (Krishna and Arjuna) talk; Krishna speaks to Arjuna about this, he says “For those who lack resolution, the decisions of life are many branched and endless” (2.41). I liked this philosophy; it resonated with me. I felt it was something I needed to aspire to more, personally – as I allow myself to be over-whelmed by too many possibilities and decisions, but, this is the burning question……I wondered if the more I was focussing on my yoga practice and meditation if this was dampening down my naturally ADHD brain, which I think is also my ‘Creative Brain’? I wondered if anyone else had thoughts on this? I am unsure if it is this factor or just pure and simply the fact that I have less time to song write at the moment, as I am dedicating more time to my yoga and the TT?

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“I can’t live without either my music or my yoga.” I know there are famous musicians who embraced the yogic lifestyle; but with not being a full-time, professional musician, I find myself juggling both these important aspects of my life around my ‘day’ job. The bands I have been in (and I am still in) have satisfied my own creative, musical needs and most importantly I have enjoyed being part of them! It is both a social life and they are almost my other family. Now they seem to juxtaposition with my yogic life, in more ways than one! I hope I can reach a balance where they can co-exist and the song writing starts to flow again! The main thing for me is I can’t live without either my music or my yoga! I would be interested to hear other people’s experiences of combining their yoga practice with a creative practice, especially any other songwriters.

Day jobs: Graphic Designer/Web Designer – part-time lecturer in these subjects. Night jobs (!): Have been song-writing and playing parttime in bands for over 20 years – included playing bass in the Scottish, all-girl, punk band Pink Kross and sung in “Bleachie” (Blondie tribute). Currently sings with ska band The Amphetameanies, and plays bass and sings in country-punk band The Hoolits.

About me: Started practising yoga about 15 years ago, there was a gap of no yoga for a few years, but in the last 5-6 years a rediscovery of the huge benefits it has, meant embracing this as fully as I possibly could! Completed the Yoga Scotland Foundation Course in 2016 and currently studying Teacher Training (TT) at Edinburgh (2016-18 group).


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WHEN Friday 13th to Sunday 15th April, 2018 WHERE Wiston Lodge, Wiston, Biggar ML12 6HT OVERVIEW • With 19 classes to choose from during your retreat you will experience Aerial, Hatha, Forrest, Yin, Yang, Vinyasa and Face Yoga. There will also be time for you to take part in meditation, pranayama and relaxation. This weekend will allow you to step back from your daily life and become more connected with your self in the peaceful setting of the Scottish countryside.


PRE-BOOKING REQUIRED: Cost of retreat is £295 including accommodation, meals and yoga. 50% non refundable deposit required to book your place Book through my website or call 07824352068. Card payments accepted. YOGA WARRIOR: Yoga Scotland 500 hrs trained teacher and aerial yoga teacher. SUITABLE FOR: Everyone


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Teacher Training Courses 2018-20 Yoga Scotland has been training yoga teachers for more than 40 years. Our comprehensive and respected 500-hour Teacher Training course includes: • 15 weekends including two residential weekends at Lendrick Lodge. • Training and support from experienced Hatha Tutors • Specialist Tutors for Philosophy and Anatomy & Physiology • Sessions on Yoga in Pregnancy and First Aid • Membership of Yoga Scotland • Insurance to teach from Year One of the course • 3 External Teaching Practice Assessments • External verification of written assignments • Access to a library of books • Access to Ongoing Training Days from Year One of the course • Teacher Training Diploma Certificate. Course venue: Edinburgh Course cost: £3275.

Course dates: September 2018 to June 2020 Bursaries may be available for those on low income.

Further information and application packs will be available to download from the Yoga Scotland website from 31 January 2018. Closing date: 25 May 2018 Contact Elaine Samson, Training Coordinator admin@yogascotland.org.uk

Annual General Meeting Saturday 10 March 2018 10.00am to 4.00pm Registration from 9.30am

Uphall Community Centre, Strathbrock Place, Uphall, Broxburn, West Lothain EH52 6BN All members are cordially invited to the 2018 AGM. Come along and enjoy a moƌŶŝŶŐ LJŽŐĂ ƐĞƐƐŝŽŶ͕ ƉĂƌƚŝĐŝƉĂƚĞ ŝŶ zŽŐĂ ^ĐŽƚůĂŶĚ͛Ɛ ĂŶŶƵĂů meeting, join old friends and new for a shared lunch and finish it all off with an afternoon of Satsang, questions and open discussion. There is no charge for the day. Donations towards costs and the bursary fund are welcomed. Save the date! More details to follow. 16

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A sense of freedom by Dawn Findlay I have now been teaching in a prison for 2 years and I have to say it has been the most utterly amazing and challenging thing I have ever done. The benefits are often clear to see even if some don't say it out loud. You are sometimes met with resistance of someone who genuinely doesn't want to be there, who "only came to get out of the halls". But very often you can see their opinion changing once they feel the benefits. I know for a fact that yoga, has the ability to change lives and sometimes save lives. However, I am, definitely not naïve enough to think it is the answer to everyone's problems and would never suggest so. I often get asked what makes me want to do this work in the first place and this question was what was outlined in the suggestions for me to write about in this article. I suppose the above statement answers that to a degree. I know first hand that yoga and meditation has the capacity to change lives and really help people, I have a deep trust in the practice. Speaking for myself there is a very intense compassion in me now that wasn't always so deep before, not particularly for others and definitely not for myself.

“I believe that nobody is born evil.” It's hard to say exactly where the story begins on my journey to teaching yoga in a prison. But perhaps a good place to start would be to rewind back to June 2011 in a rustic retreat centre called Lalitas. I was on my 200 hour teacher training and my teacher told us that yoga was being taught in some prisons. This little voice in my head just went - I want to do that, I am going to do that. Back then I was in no way ready to try to share some of my medicine with others as there was still a lot of work to be done on myself. However about 3 years ago I was back living in Edinburgh and knew it was time to really focus on getting into at least one prison to teach.

“...teaching in prison is the most utterly amazing and challenging thing I have ever done.” I approached The Prison Phoenix Trust and to this day they have been such a guiding support for me, keeping me positive when funding was lost and looked like the whole project was about to fall through.

I sometimes joke about this with my own students when I am talking about my own yoga and meditation journey saying, "despite my best efforts I started becoming a better person." Also relating to why I want to do this kind of work is a belief that I have that nobody is born evil. Now I am no psychologist but diving deeper into the study of this kind of work and various trainings with The Prison Phoenix Trust it has given me a bit more insight into why people do the things that they do. In the classes everyone gets treated the same from me. I try to remember people’s names and different injuries they have as the fact that you acknowledge them as another human can often mean more than anything. In terms of how the classes are structured it can vary dramatically depending on the energy levels I am met with. However, it all leads towards the main part of meditation and final relaxation. I see it as a HUGE honour to be able to teach in prison and pass on yoga. Some people think I am crazy to want to do it but its honestly my favourite class of the week. I actually look upon this as a 'duty', something I have been called to do. The Yogis might call it Dharma. www.riseofdawnyoga.com


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Finding Stillness Finding Balance by Sarah Matchett

I am a very energetic and active person much of the time and find it hard to sit still in most situations. I was recently lucky enough to be an audience member of a performance of Verdi's La Traviata at a salon in Venice. The audience of about 50 become part of the performance as the singers and small orchestra perform in a private house, the audience moving with the action into different rooms of the 15th century historical palace. In my mind, this is a situation where you are completely immersed in the sight, sounds and ambiance of the performance. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, feeling myself transported back to a more elegant time, although the problems of love and parental disapproval stay the same through the years.

“It seems like the general population has lost the ability to be still... “ I was also mildly distracted, for the first Act at least, by the fidgeting, twitching, muttering and moving of most of the rest of the audience! I rarely attend public performances of anything. Even a visit to the cinema is an unusual event because we live in a rural area. At some point in the last twenty years, it seems that the general population has lost the ability to be still. Mobile phones certainly have a lot to do with it. Even though the audience were asked to turn phones off, there were still a number of people who only turned them to silent. How can we fully experience something if we are constantly moving on to the next thing? There have been a number of reports in the media over the last year or so about how mobile phones are completely changing the way we interact with the world and how our brains are changing because of that interaction. Concentration spans are getting shorter, sleep is more disturbed and selfish actions are becoming the norm in the 'me, me, me' culture. Over my years of practicing yoga, I will readily admit to my difficulty in achieving still meditation. My teachers will acknowledge that the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! I am more able to accept moving meditations, losing yourself in a task such as gardening or painting where time goes by without the busy brain thinking about all the 'stuff' that needs to be done and instead is lost in the task. Or being part of an audience of an intimate musical performance.

“We don’t always remember the importance of stopping and being in the moment.” I find it much easier to practice asana, as perhaps most of us do in the West. We are encouraged to work hard and keep moving and don't always remember the importance of stopping and being in the moment. I will continue to persevere with finding some stillness in my daily life.


I will also continue to practice asana to help me find physical balance to help my mind be still. I did manage a Tree posture on the train on the way home a challenge but one I rose to!

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yoga 55 magazine_yoga mag 38 final 05/12/2017 15:25 Page 20


Not just Asana

The Chakras by Sarah Ryan

Modern science is beginning to go back to old ideas about us, that we are holistic beings, and that all the different aspects of ourselves are related, and affect each other. But for a long while our society, and particularly perhaps medicine, has tried to understand people by dividing them up into different headings, and then looking at those different headings as though they were completely discrete from each other. The yogis knew, thousands of years ago, that we were extremely complex, and that all parts of us interrelate. Two models that they used show this particularly well: the model of the five mayas (often called by the later name of the koshas), and the model of the chakras.

“When we are angry our body expresses it...“ The five mayas are alluded to in the Taittiriya Upanishad. They are five different aspects of all conscious beings: the body, the breath or life-force or energy, mind, attitudes and personality, and feelings. Deeper than all these is yet another component, that of spirit or consciousness. The important thing about the term maya is that its meaning has within it the idea that each aspect affects and is affected by the others. We can take a very simple example, the emotion of anger. When we are angry, our body expresses it (differently in different people, but often in a change of skin colour, and in movements such as the clenching of fists); our breath changes, usually becoming faster; our mind becomes filled with the object of our anger; our attitudes and personality are changed, perhaps forever, and certainly in the moment of anger.

“When energy is flowing freely, without obstacle, the chakras will be healthy and functioning well.” The model of the chakras seems to have developed rather later, probably concurrently with hatha yoga, although the idea of chakras is an old one, mentioned in the Yoga Sutra. Also a model which brings together all different aspects of us, it is based on the idea of us as beings of energy, with energy (prana) flowing around us through channels called nadis. Nadis flow all around the body much like nerves, arteries and veins. The three most important are Susumna, Ida and Pingala. These three come together at seven different points deep within us, and where they come together are the seven chakras. When energy is flowing freely, without obstacle, the chakras will be


healthy and functioning well. When energy is blocked, then there will be problems for at least one chakra and if this continues for a while, gradually all the others will be affected. The lowest chakra is Muladhara, at the base of the spine, slightly above the pelvic floor. It is related to the element of earth, to issues of safety, stability, trust and confidence. Slightly above it, in the sacral area, is Svadhisthana, related to the element of water, and to issues around our ability to be open to pleasure, sexuality and sensuality, and to deep emotions and feelings. Level with the navel is Manipuraka, related to the element of fire, and to issues around individuality and ego, autonomy, power, vitality and will. Level with the heart is Anahata, related to the element of air, and to issues around relationships and the ability to love, both others and ourselves.

“The idea of yoga is to fulfill all of our potential...“ At the throat area is Vishuddhi, related to the element of space, and to issues around expression and the ability to communicate our own truth, our own reality... but also the ability to listen to others. Level with the eyebrows is Ajna, to do with knowing, with insight and imagination. Finally, at the top of our head, is Sahasrara. When it functions fully, we have full awareness and are connected to the spiritual, to the Divine. Related issues are around belief systems, intelligence and information processing. Each chakra also relates physically to the area around it: Muladhara for instance relates to the process and organs of elimination; Anahata to the heart and lungs; Sahasrara to the head, brain and nervous system. The first two chakras are very much about the individual, the personal, instincts and drives. The third chakra is a gateway between these two and the next two, which are more involved with the interpersonal and experience. Vishuddhi at the throat is again a gateway, between the interpersonal and the transpersonal character of the highest two chakras. They are associated with wisdom and the ability to be aware of, and connect with, that which is beyond the material. Each chakra is affected by the others, particularly those below it and next to it. Generally, yoga advocates working with the lower chakras first, as they are the basis for those above. The ideal of yoga is to fulfill all our potential, the potential represented at each chakra, and gradually to move towards the freedom, expression, abstraction and universality of Sahasrara. Unfortunately, sometimes we find ourselves going in the opposite direction, towards form, density, boundaries, individuality, identification and contraction.

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“The subtle tools of meditation can be just as effective as the physical...“ Generally, asana practice will help prana to flow better, and therefore help the chakras to function better. Pranayama furthers this, refining the work and helping prana to flow more in the three main nadis. Mudras and bandhas pinpoint the area of focus even more. However, the subtle tools of meditation can be just as effective as these physical means, if not more so, in working with the chakras.

I shall be teaching in Glasgow on the chakras during the first weekend of June, 2018, and there will be particular emphasis on practice, and what practices will be best for each chakra. I hope to see you there. I owe a great debt to my teacher, Kausthub Desikachar, for his inspiring teachings on this and many other subjects. Sararyanyoga.co.uk


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Student Blog


Born to run... by Norman Boyle

“I’ll need to do that blasted yoga if I want to keep on running.“ That was my thinking as I stepped into my first yoga class in late 2013. After 25 years of fairly serious running I had hit that point which comes to many runners, I was suffering from recurrent injury. Like lots of runners all I wanted to do was run and get better at running – and better meant faster. So my training was mainly limited to running. Constantly striving, pushing, never really content with my results, always comparing myself to others (usually faster others), always wanting to be fitter, stronger, better, faster. The result was that although I did ‘get better’ at running for a couple of seasons, I had set myself up for major imbalances in body and mind, leading to regular injury. I was no longer happy with or enjoying my running and at one point I seriously considered giving up. I became very good at treating and rehabilitating myself after these injuries, I had lots of practice. I would then go out and repeat the same course of action which, to my surprise, would lead to the same injury. This had gone on for three years. Repeating the same action and expecting a different result is said to be one definition of insanity. I know that now, I didn’t know that then.

“I was captivated by the practice of yoga from the minute I set foot on the mat” Like many runners my stretching regime was sketchy to say the least, so yoga – a bit of good stretching – would surely help. My running club, Bellahouston Roadrunners, funded a 4-week block of yoga with marathon runner, triathlete, Ironman and yoga teacher Mark Russell, so it was with a little trepidation I turned up at the studio on a Thursday night, not knowing quite what to expect. I was captivated by the practice of yoga from the minute I set foot on the mat. This was not what I had expected. It felt as if I had been waiting my whole life to find yoga. That slightly unwilling start was the beginning of a journey of discovery which led me to explore different ways of running, to attend lots of yoga classes with many different teachers and to apply and be accepted for the Yoga Scotland Edinburgh Teacher Training Course. I am now a student teacher in my final year and guess what? I teach yoga to runners. The journey has been a rollercoaster. I fairly quickly discovered that yoga was about a lot more than stretching. I had come to class because I thought there was something wrong with my legs – I discovered that my body was


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Yoga SCOTLAND functioning fine – the problem was with my head – my thinking. There is no doubt that focused stretching with Mark was helping greatly, but to get better I had to go back to the first principles of yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas. My teachers gradually and gently introduced me to these ideas and I was encouraged to read. Slowly these principles sunk in.

“...in my sixties I’m still running and running well...” I began to practise Ahimsa – being kind to my body, not pushing it constantly beyond the edge into injury. I began to practise satya, an honest assessment of my current capabilities and fitness levels. I began to practise aparigraha, not grasping after old personal bests which I had set decades ago. I began to develop santosha, contentment with the reality that in my sixties I am still running and running well and I finally started to surrender (Ishvara pranidhana) to

the idea that slowing down a little and accepting with grace the reality of being a little older and a little slower was not such a bad thing. With the help of Mark and Chi Running coach Nick Constantine, I developed a more holistic, healthier style of running, incorporating the yogic principles of shtira and sukha, running without strain and tension and I have become a better runner. Better no longer equates to faster but to uninjured and happy. I have not had a significant running injury of any kind since the day I set foot in my first yoga class. I had discovered the truth of sutra 1.2. “Yogas citta vritti nirodhah.“ Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mindstuff. A little peace and stillness in my mind and a bit of healthy movement for the body has made my running fun again and I would like to be in it for the long game. So, if in a few years you see some old guy with white hair and a zimmer out strutting his stuff at a race somewhere, say hello – it could be me. Hopefully the yoga will mean I don’t need the zimmer!

For information, news and more visit our website:

www.yogascotland.org.uk Satyananda Yoga CDs for home practice


Yoga Nidra for Healing: a practice for those dealing with pain and illness. Chair Yoga and relaxation: for people with limited mobility or other special needs. To be done in groups with a helper, or as an individual practice. Yoga Nidra: 3 practices for first and second year students.

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Yoga Workshops with Ann Hunter

Saturday 10.00 – 13.00 3 february, 3 March, 7 April 2018 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 £20 Small group so booking essential Email ann@athunter.plus.com tel 0141 647 1817

Meditation: Kaya Stairyam (body stillness), Ajapa Japa (mantra) and Antar Mouna (inner silence). meditation 3 8 0 me ditation C CD DO OFC_Carol FC_Carol C CD DO OFC FC 1 13/08/2012 1 14:12 4:12 Pa Page ge 1

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Not just Asana

Massive Outpouring Of Love! The Dumfries Yoga and Well Being Day for MOOL by David Ball

“...this is the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War...“ You may have heard of Seva, a Sanskrit word often simply translated as selfless service. Yes, but there's more; it also translates to: ‘Our service unites with others to bring about collective, connected and compassionate change.’ Here in Dumfries, Jill brought together her yoga teaching colleagues, Moira Forsyth, Carol Godridge, Jackie Le Brocq and Susan Neal to join with MOOL for a fundraising Yoga and Well Being Day. What is MOOL? It stands for ‘Massive Outpouring Of Love’, a Dumfries based charity founded in 2015 by Moxie de Paulitte as a heart-felt personal response to the terrible plight of refugees in the ‘Jungle’ near Calais and elsewhere. Worldwide, this is the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. MOOL’s website (www.mool.scot) tells us that the charity is a ‘humanitarian movement dedicated to helping people in need, wherever they are, be that locally or across the globe’. Starting with collection and delivery of donated clothing


to the Jungle; small messages of love and hope go into pockets: connected compassion. Now their work has expanded to donations to the big refugee camps in the Middle East, to teaching visits to local schools and lobbying at the Scottish Parliament. Our big day was on 11 November 2017, Armistice Day, a day of quiet skies and soft sunshine. The event took place at Jill and Carol’s teaching venue; big open rooms filled with light, set in the park-like grounds of the Crichton Estate on the campus of the University of the West of Scotland.

“More than £1450 was raised on the day!” The day flowed with lesson choices of Susan’s Yin Yoga or Moira’s Surya Namaskar with Pranayama, followed by Jackie’s ‘Tree of Life’ practice or Carol’s Yoga Nidra and World Peace Meditation, and for all, two minutes’ silence at the eleventh hour of Armistice Day. Following our lunch break, Lindsey Porter gave a talk on

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mental health awareness. Lindsey is a Yoga teacher and campaigner for SAMH (Scottish Awareness of Mental Health). Lindsey had travelled from Falkirk to talk with us and promote sales of the Yoga-themed 2018 ‘Yoga Obscura’ calendars as a charity fundraiser – her aim is to raise £1000. Then the frisson of the prize raffle draw, in aid of MOOL! For the afternoon, we could choose either a Restorative Yoga session from Moira or a Walking Meditation through the Campus grounds with Jill. Su Thornton joined us to recite her poems at stopping points. As the sun westered, we united for a talk about MOOL by Moxie and daughter Yoshabelle. To close: a communal chanting session for all led by Jackie. How many attended? Over seventy! More than £1450 was raised, all for MOOL’s work. So, a marvellous and memorable day, connecting with ourselves, our community and our world. A living reminder to ‘Be good and do good’. The authors have no competing interests. Further Information: MOOL. Massive Outpouring Of Love. Available at: www.mool.scot (accessed 12 November 2017). Huffington Post. Massive Outpouring Of Love: How a Community Put their Love into Action. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lola-reed/massiveoutpouring-of-lov_b_8154194.html (accessed 12 November

2017). SAMH. Scottish Association of Mental Health. Available at: https//:samh.org.uk (accessed 12 November 2017). Yogamour. Five ways to practice Seva in your daily life. Available at: https://yogamour.org/letters-from-theheart/2014/5/29/five-ways-to-practice-seva-in-your-daily-life (accessed 12 November 2017). Facing Africa. Available at: www.facingafrica.org. (accessed 13 November 2017). Acknowledgements: We thank all who ‘got the bounce on’: all who attended; to all who gave freely of their time and talents: our Yoga teachers, Andy Hardman, Lindsey Porter, Su Thornton, Alison Boyes and all donors to the raffle. Thanks to our MOOL visitors: Moxie de Paulitte, Yoshabelle de Paulitte (age 7), Lynn Anderson and Fee Biddlecombe-Hall.

Jill Dobbie is a graduate of the Mandala Ashram in South Wales, founding ‘Yoga from the Heart Dumfries’ in 2016. She teaches Chair Yoga for the elderly as well as traditional Hatha Yoga in Dumfries. She practices Bhakti Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. David Ball is a first year yoga student. He worked as an anaesthetist for the ‘Facing Africa’ charity and others in Africa.


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Not just Asana

The Great Transformation: A World Awakening by Sahara Devi

We are currently living in the most profoundly transformative time in the history of the Planet. Never mind the Industrial Revolution or even the advent of our current techno wonder-world: this is a time of Awakening Consciousness on a planetary level, and not one single being or location on the earth will remain untouched. Of course, you may not be remotely aware of this, as we each experience life depending upon where we put our attention – and right now there is a reality show of international proportions grabbing the spotlight from nightly news to social media. However, those of us looking in another direction are perceiving an expansion in Consciousness of a cosmic magnitude. In 2008, after a 13-year unexpected sojourn living ‘on the street’ and being carried around the world with no visible means of support, I returned to Bozeman and wrote a little book called The Evolution Revolution/The First Peaceful Revolution In The World, A Handbook for Personal & Global Transformation. It was a work based on my own awakening and recognition that ‘whatsoever we do to or for another, we are doing to or for our own selves – for good or ill.’ It spoke of a way of cultivating Self-Awareness and expanding Consciousness, and was published in the midst of the Great Recession – a crisis that demanded a rethinking of priorities and a recreating of systems. Unfortunately, rather than accept that uncomfortable truth and the accompanying challenge, the powers that be scrambled to recreate the status quo with all haste. Nine years later we are experiencing the consequences of those decisions with a vengeance – a nationwide dissatisfaction of such profound depth it has led to an


unprecedented rejection of establishment thinking and the elevation of an antihero into a position of power. Meanwhile, the energetics of Transformation – not to be trifled with by out-of-control egos of any stature – are barreling on and showing up globally: from the astonishing upstart in the Vatican speaking a Christ-like rhetoric of caring for the poor, to alternative energy becoming a new norm, and governments around the world granting rights to animals, water and the Earth herself. In all this we are witnessing what I call the Great Transformation: a period of societal upheaval and political antics indicating the death throes and approaching dissolution of the Old Paradigm on the one hand, and a greater acceptance of our interdependence arising in the multitudes, leading us toward a new way of being in harmony with all life, on the other.

“What if our default intention as we go about our daily life was making people feel good about themselves?” So where does that leave us as individuals, the ‘little people’ who may feel powerless to have an impact in the face of such great turbulence? Where does the average Joe, a decent, hardworking, live-and-let-live kind of guy, who abhors how things are but doesn’t have a clue what to do about it, find the power to make a difference if he is not a protester, activist, billionaire, ‘celebrity’ or CEO? If we are not simply reactive organisms, responding to stimuli like

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“...the key to the power of the individual ....is in relationship.” Pavlov’s dogs, we have the profoundly influential power (and empowerment) of intentional, conscious choice. We can choose where to put our attention, we can choose what to feed with our energy, we can choose what to support with our money, we can choose how to respond to what we perceive, and we can choose the words and tone of voice in our speaking. We can choose the attitude and intention we bring into our world, and more specifically, our community. It’s actually quite simple: the key to the power of the individual (those who en masse make up the overwhelming majority) is in relationship – because the basis of a harmonious life in any society depends upon our interrelatedness and how we choose to treat each other on a daily basis. We needn’t wait for a natural disaster to evoke a sense of ‘all in this together’ because we really ARE all in this – Life – together. We needn’t wait for a catastrophe to inspire kindness, cooperation, consideration, generosity or compassion – we can choose to embody those qualities and express them in every encounter, every day – and race, religion, nationality, gender or even political affiliation need never come into play. Start where you are. The simplest way to say it is: Be friendly. We can choose to be friendly and pleasant when engaged in transactions with the cashier or waitress who serves us, we can choose to be considerate of others when we’re driving down the street, we can choose to be kind, supportive or complimentary In every human transaction. In a world that has speeded up exponentially, just being willing to spend the moment it takes to be still and listen to what another wants to express is a kindness. All around us are folks working at jobs we’ve done, or jobs we would never want to do. These people are not nameless ciphers, they are our neighbours – someone’s mother, father, sister, child or loved one – and they are serving us in the positions they occupy. What if we expressed appreciation for their service and made their encounter with us a moment of warmth and connection? What if our default intention as we go about our daily life was making people feel good about themselves? What if our speaking elicited the response: “You made my day.” The change we want to see in our world is not something that can be legislated or imposed from without; it is not something we can achieve through protest. It is something that can only come from within each one of us choosing to bring a little more kindness into our way of being as we go about the business of living our lives. Quantum physics tells us how the observer affects that which it observes – this is the way as individuals we affect our collective reality. What if we started to observe through the eyes of Love? In the same way that the reward of patience is patience, the reward of kindness is finding oneself living in a kind world. Verily: whatsoever we embody and express creates the world in which we live. It’s a question of critical mass. Small numbers have the power to affect collective consciousness and do, as when TM meditators demonstrably reduced crime in cities by their focus. When we recognize we are part of a whole and

continuously contributing the quality of our energy to that whole, we can begin to chose to embody and express more kindness, raising the vibratory rate of the collective and contributing to a transformed society. Change yourself and change the world.

Sahara Devi is the author of The Evolution Revolution/The First Peaceful Revolution In The World, (currently available as an eBook) and the rap: The Evolution Revolution, found on her YouTube channel. She served as Managing Editor of Spiritual Impressions Magazine in Bangalore, contributing essayist of Yoga Journal Scotland, has taught classes in cultivating Consciousness at the Gallatin Valley Detention Center and has been interviewed on the radio show Gesundheit with Jacobus numerous times.

CO-TUTOR – CENTRAL FOUNDATION COURSE Yoga Scotland is inviting applications from suitably qualified teachers to co-tutor the 201819 Foundation Course usually held in Polmont. The Foundation Course runs over 10 Saturdays throughout the course year. You will have excellent communication and presentation skills and experience of planning and managing weekly classes and seminars. Strong team working skills and an active interest in contributing to the development of the course is essential. Applicants must be qualified and registered yoga teachers with at least 5 years experience of teaching yoga. Information on the course can be found on the Yoga Scotland website: www.yogascotland.org.uk Application packs are available from Elaine Samson, Coordinator at admin@yogascotland.org.uk Closing date for applications: Friday 2 February 2018. Applicants will be asked to teach a 25-30 minute session as part of the interview.


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Scottish Charity No SC016624


FORTHCOMING SEMINARS Weekend of yoga with Ann Hunter

Intelligent Use of Prana in Practice Planning

Saturday, 21st April 2018 - 10.00am to 4.00pm Cults Kirk Centre, 404 North Deeside Road, Aberdeen AB15 9TD (hot drinks provided, please bring a light packed lunch) Sunday, 22nd April 2018 - 9.45am to 3.45pm Fraserburgh Community & Sports Centre, Fraserburgh AB43 9TH (food and drink not permitted at the centre but can be purchased at the café) Please check Ann’s website for more information: www.inthemomentcentre.co.uk

A weekend of yoga with Kanti Freeman

Exploring Sound

Saturday, 6th October 2018 - 10.00am to 4.00pm Cults Kirk Centre, 404 North Deeside Road, Aberdeen AB15 9TD (hot drinks provided, please bring a light packed lunch) Sunday, 7th October 2018 - 9.45am to 3.45pm Fraserburgh Community & Sports Centre, Fraserburgh AB43 9TH (food and drink not permitted at the centre but can be purchased at the café) Please check Kanti’s website for more information: www.divine-harmony.co.uk

A weekend of yoga with Pete Blackaby SEMINAR TITLE TO BE CONFIRMED Saturday, 27th April 2019 - 10.00am to 4.00pm Cults Kirk Centre, 404 North Deeside Road, Aberdeen AB15 9TD (hot drinks provided, please bring a light packed lunch) Sunday, 28th April 2019 - 9.45am to 3.45pm Fraserburgh (venue to be confirmed) Please check Peter’s website for more information: www.peterblackaby.co.uk Costs for each seminar are: £50 (£60 non GYA members) for both days or £25 (£30 non GYA members) per day

GYA/YS United Nations International Day of Yoga

Free, Donations to Charity

Sunday, 24th June 2018 - 10.00am to 4.00pm – Major Hall, 7 Trades, Trinity Hall, Holburn Street, Aberdeen AB10 6DA (hot drinks available to purchase, please bring a light packed lunch) Check GYA website for more updated information, www.grampianyoga.org.uk Bookings for all seminars now open, please email gyaseminar@outlook.com 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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Not just Asana

Yoga as Therapy... From Diabetes to Depression by Phillipa Berry

As an Edinburgh based Yoga Therapist, I am heartened by the rapid growth in the use of Yoga as therapy of late. The public are now coming to realise that Yoga is more than just physical exercise or postures which can help with muscular skeletal problems and help with relaxation.

“I have been privileged enough to see how powerful yoga can be when used skilfully...“ My interest in Yoga Therapy is inspired by the teachings of T Krishnamacharya and I having been working with teachers at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, www.kym.org in Chennai since 2006. I have been privileged enough to see how powerful Yoga can be when used skilfully, making use of asana, sound, breath and diet. The philosophy of the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali is very much the approach of the teachers at KYM. A student is first given a consultation and then assigned a teacher with consideration given to which teacher would best suit the students’ needs both physically and emotionally. KYM believes that the student teacher relationship is at the heart of any knowledge transfer and transformation which will be undertaken by the student. At KYM emphasis is given to the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of the nervous system when individual practices are designed. The student is asked to complete a health questionnaire, and give thought to what time of the day they wish to practice. It is usual to place emphasis on exhalation and closing postures if a student wishes to practice in the evening to enable the body and the mind to let go of the stresses of the day and get ready for asleep. The opposite is true for a practice at the start of the day where we use the breath, sound and movement with emphasis on the inhale and opening the body. The individual practice tends to be designed for the student to practice for around 20 minutes daily, however if appropriate the student may wish to practice for longer.

“. . . chanting is often used as a meditative practice to help with focus and memory.” 29

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Yoga SCOTLAND A diabetic requires a practice which allows the digestive system to work at the optimum and therefore requires twisting postures and forward bending postures including knees to chest. Emphasis would also be placed on breath with movement. Long controlled exhale to use the diaphragm to massage the internal organs of digestion and help with calming the mind. As the quality of the glucose to the brain for a diabetic can be variable, it is also useful to have a meditative practice to improve focus and memory. At KYM sound in the form of chanting is often used as a meditative practice to help with focus and memory. Treating depression involves postures with emphasis on the inhale such as warrior and cobra. Use of sound in the form of chanting can be extremely useful for changing mood. Also twists and knees to chest postures help improve digestion which often becomes sluggish for a student suffering from depression.

Not just Asana

About Philippa Berry: I have studied Yoga for 20 years and was first introduced to ViniYoga in 2004 where a teacher from Bristol visited Edinburgh. I took my first trip to Krishnamacarya Yoga Mandiram in 2006 where I completed a four week programme of study in a group of around 35 students from across the world. I started working individually with my teacher Padmini in 2007 and have made around five further trips to India since. I qualified as a Yoga teacher in 2009 and have experience teaching; in a medical centre in California, teaching women fleeing from domestic abuse in Edinburgh, general Yoga Classes and individual lessons also in Edinburgh. I also take/arrange annual trips to KYM in Chennai each February for those who like to know more about Yoga Therapy, www.yogaowls.co.uk. Along with my Yoga qualification I also hold qualifications in Massage, Nutritional Therapy, Teaching and Counselling Skills. I am a keen student of schools of Philosophy both from India the and West and a have a particular interest in how Yoga can improve self esteem.

Womenzone weeked

Reaching out, empowering women and supporting addiction and trauma recovery through yoga by Lorraine Close

Edinburgh Community Yoga (ECY), a not for profit yoga outreach organisation based in the city, works with underserved communities, including people with mental health issues, community groups supporting people with drug and alcohol issues, military veterans affected by PTSD, women’s groups, prisons and hospitals. ECY also runs a range of corporate and public classes, retreats and trainings for teachers interested in this work. One of the key areas in which we work is with women in recovery and affected by trauma, through a local not for profit project, Womenzone, run by Comas; an Edinburgh charity that does excellent work in the community. Our yoga programme with Womenzone was successfully piloted in 2015, and we were awarded funding by First State Investment and Foundation Scotland in 2106 to run a further, 12 month project and women’s retreat, all free at the point of service for participants.


Running an outreach retreat was one of our dreams; Laura and I talked about it hypothetically from the inception of our outreach programme. For this to become a reality was an important milestone for us as an organisation and we hope that it will be the first of many to come.

“The women we work with on this project have often experienced chaos in their lives.” For many of us going on retreat, taking time out to withdraw from the often, busy nature of our lives is a sanctuary that offers stillness, time for reflection and a chance to connect with ourselves, or perhaps others. Unfortunately, the high cost involved in these type of

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weekends, combined with many other barriers mean it is extremely unlikely that the people that we work with would ever be able to consider, let alone find the financial means to go. The women that we work with on this project have often experienced chaos in their lives. Getting to a weekly yoga class can be a challenge, maintaining recovery, for many of them can also prove challenging as is working through the traumatic experiences that they have often encountered throughout their lives. For them to take a weekend out for themselves and face their many fears and anxieties around being away from children, familiarity and safety was no mean feat and careful planning with the participants to ensure safety and encourage people to have the confidence to step out of their comfort zone and onto a minibus to Dunkeld, was really important. It took a year of building trust through a weekly yoga class, working closely with the Womenzone team to do this in a way that was safe and not overwhelming for the women involved.

“...one of the most meaningful and truly enjoyable experiences of my life.” The weekend retreat at the beautiful Eastwood House in Dunkeld ran in May 2017 and was one of the most meaningful and truly enjoyable experiences of my life. It was honest, and real and it embodied everything that we aim to achieve in a trauma informed yoga class, noticing of body and breath, the encouragement of choice making and the development of a trusting relationship between individuals, which for many women we work with has not often been their experience.

The focus was on the practice of yoga, but what was created by the women who attended was a weekend of empowerment, women supporting women, and shared experience that created connection, relaxation, trust and understanding. The creation of a supportive community and building relationships between self, teacher and student is one of the biggest benefits that we see in our yoga outreach work; the retreat really demonstrated this. Below is a piece from Karen Gillan, a peer support ‘big sister’ from Womenzone and one of the participants on the yoga programme and retreat. Karen has been in recovery for 4 years.

“I have just realised what the importance of community is... a community was formed this weekend.” A weekend spent in a picturesque house in Dunkeld... you would never imagine that if you put 10 women from all walks of life with many 'complex' needs, myself included, two yogis, a chef and two womenZone workers all together that what you would get would be an amazing weekend spent bonding and breathing. My idea of yoga was bending into shapes that seemed impossible, I didn’t think it was for people like me, however, how wrong could I be! With two amazing ‘yogi angels’ who just get you, we went on a journey of emotional discovery through breathing and moving. “This is your yoga” a statement so simple yet provides so much security. Poses and stretches are made simple and effective with no judgement, small adjustments made that release just a little more.


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Yoga SCOTLAND For me, I realised the importance of acceptance and breathing... we all go through life breathing but who ever pays attention to how you are breathing? I sure don’t! But I lie on a yoga mat and this is revealed in the form of shallow breathing that hurts... holding on to emotions as a coping mechanism but realising how harmful this is, just breathe a little deeper and breathe into the anxiety, put just a little trust in the yoga and yourself and a little outlet is had! I was able to witness, first hand, the amazing journeys of women in recovery. One women was terrified to eat anywhere and had never left her five children for more than a day; there she was sitting over from me eating three meals a day prepared by the project chef and opening up when she felt it too much. Women still battling with addiction and on medication sitting still and meditating, that’s another three days that they have not used illicit drugs... quite astonishing. There were giggles at midnight, friendship bonds made that will last long after this weekend! Jumping into the river Tay which would make anyone feel alive, appreciating nature, chanting Om round a camp fire in a onesie and not to mention food – and a lot of it! We had an amazing chef (Annabelle, or AB, was our ECY retreat chef, an incredible, strong powerhouse of a woman who gives out hugs a plenty and creates a feeling of total safety with her presence) who was on her feet preparing three meals a day, no meat at all just beautiful homemade goodness and all done with a smile on her face and a gentle hug. I have had many great times in recovery and great experiences however there was something special created on this weekend with Laura and Lorraine. There was a connection made with the importance of yoga and being compassionate to YOURSELF! Never have I spend a weekend with no complaining, no gossiping and no arguments. I have just realised what the importance of community is... a community was formed this weekend, a yoga community and women supporting


women is something magical. “Healing has already begun” (a key focus of our sankalpa for the weekend) I could go on and on about how amazing this retreat has been, but I will practice what I have learnt on the Yoga mat and apply it in daily life. Namaste

“We aim to raise another £3000 to be able to continue this work . . .” This project has been one of our greatest successes and we are immensely proud of the women who have committed to practicing yoga regularly; many of them having developed the confidence to continue their yoga journeys in different ways including through scholarship at local studios, the Yoga Scotland Foundation Course and most recently, in teacher training-funded and supported by our fundraising work. Following the retreat, we have continued with a weekly class which will conclude at the end of November as we await news on the next funding application. Even if we are successful the amount will not cover the entire project costs and therefore we are fundraising for an extra £3000 to be able to continue to work with Womenzone. You can help us; If you would like to donate to ECY, you can do so at http://edinburghcommunityyoga.co.uk/ donate/ You, or your local studio, can also organise a fundraising event in your area to raise money to support others to access the benefits of yoga. Please contact us at lorraine@edinburghcommunityyoga.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you. We advocate that yoga teachers should only work specifically with vulnerable groups if they have an in-depth understanding of their needs, have appropriate training with, and understanding of, a trauma informed approach to teaching yoga and work with reputable organisations who are already supporting the group. Please contact us for further information.

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Not just Asana

The Path Of Karma Yoga

“Serve, Love, Meditate, Realise” (Swami Sivananda) by Michael McCann

FOUR PATHS OF YOGA As we have seen in this and the previous issue, many schools of Yoga have flowed in the downward stream of time from the ancient source of Mother Yoga. While styles and emphases may differ, they all embody one or more of the four ancient paths of Yoga. These are woven together in the sacred symphony of the Bhagavad Gita: Gyana/Jnana Yoga the path of wisdom, Raja Yoga the path of meditation, Bhakti Yoga the path of love, and Karma Yoga, the path of work. (Hatha Yoga is considered part of Raja Yoga and not as a separate path). These four paths were intended for distinct types of seekers and characteristics, but ideally to be combined to ensure an integrated cultivation of the personality: ‘the Yoga of head, hand and heart’. In a mysterious manner, each path opens one to another, and this is the case with Karma Yoga, the path we will consider in this issue. KARMA YOGA AND THE BHAGAVAD GITA The Bhagavad Gita is an inner dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, representing respectively the Higher Self and the lower self, or the Spirit and ego. It is set on the battlefield of life, ‘the Field of Karma’, and as such brings the higher, abstract and more rarefied wisdom of the

Upanishads down to a more human level. In the opening of the Gita, Arjuna is stricken by a great moral dilemma and his first impulse is to flee the battlefield and to renounce his duties in the spirit of a renunciate (Sannyasin). Krishna, in the role of Inner Guru encourages him to face his responsibilities and teaches him the path of Karma Yoga. It is said that in India at one time, many people of all ages and social classes were renouncing domestic and social responsibilities to become sannyasins. There was a danger that society may suffer an imbalance and the ‘Wheel of Dharma’ would not be turned. To preserve order (Rita), Krishna offered an ingenious alternative: rather than renounce societal responsibilities, one could instead perform them but relinquish or let go off the result (fruit) of their responsibilities as an offering (Yajna) to the Supreme: this was the restitution of the great path of Karma Yoga. The dichotomy between renunciation (Sannyasa) and relinquishment (Tyagi) are played out in Krishna’s initial dilemma. KARMA AND KARMA YOGA ‘Karma’ means ‘act’ or ‘action’, but this definition includes thought; our thoughts are ripples which condense on the


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material plane. As all actions are contained in the interplaying field of cause and effect, Karma is also commonly associated with the law of compensation, “as you sow, so you shall reap”. At every moment we are reaping, sowing, creating and storing seeds of Karma. The Gita reminds us that we are caught in a constant wheel of action, and even if we escape to a cave in the Himalayas, our thoughts will be caught in the clutches of karma! Karma Yoga encourages us to become aware that our thoughts and actions have repercussions in the outworking of our lives; and affect our fellow beings in all the planes of reality, domestic, social, environmental, and beyond. For better or worse, we are increasingly aware today of the inter-connectedness of humanity and our planet, and our mutual karmic responsibilities. PRINCIPLES OF KARMA YOGA Karma Yoga is known as meditation in action, spiritual action, non-doing, working with awareness and selfless service. It is known as ‘nishkama karma’ (non-doing). It is a profound subject and there is no substitute for experience, especially in an ashram setting where it is woven into the texture of daily life. In the words of Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati: “Karma Yoga means to perform work to the best of our ability, and with awareness, without being overly attached to the outcome or the results (or to the fruits, the term used in Yoga and in the Bhagavad Gita). The work is done more and more without the obsessive sense of “me”, “I” and “mine”. One becomes an instrument of action”. Karma Yoga is more concerned with the means than the end. Karma Yoga encourages us to offer up the result or fruit of action in a spirit of sacrifice to God, the Supreme, or what represents the Highest for you. In so doing, the action becomes ritualised and spiritualised, because the true meaning of sacrifice is ‘to make sacred’.


“Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward. Work not for a reward; but never cease to do thy work”. “Do thy work in the peace of Yoga, and free from selfish desires, be not moved in success or failure. Yoga is evenness of mind, a peace that is ever the same”. (2.47-48) “Whatever you do, or eat, or give, or offer in adoration, let it be an offering to me”. “He who offers to me with devotion only a leaf, or a flower, or a fruit, or even a little water, this I accept from that yearning soul, because with a pure heart it was offered with love” (9.26) KARMA YOGA AND THE OTHER PATHS Raja Yoga and Gyana Yoga both investigate the nature of the ego and reverse its dominance over the Higher Self, like the removal of an eclipse of the ‘inner sun’. Karma Yoga subtly removes the sense of ‘doer-ship’ or agency on which the ego is constructed and depends. In turn, when we relinquish and offer up the fruits of action, we are of course practising Bhakti Yoga. Hatha Yoga can be practised in the spirit of Karma Yoga. We are familiar with the exhortations to ‘be here now’ and ‘have no-expectation’ which are intended to keep the practitioner in the moment. The Yamas and Niyamas instil the very same attitude: we are discouraged from endgaining and to practise contentment (Santosha). When we let go off/relinquish the end result this is (Aparagraha); when we offer up the fruit of our efforts, this is surrender (Ishvarapranidhana). In this way, there is just the asana performing itself, and the performer has left the stage: the dancer has become the dance: this is Karma Yoga. SKILL IN ACTION/EVENNESS OF MIND The Bhagavad Gita describes Karma Yoga as ‘skill in action’ and ‘evenness of mind’. It encourages us to act with awareness and to perform our actions to the best of our

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ability; after all, what is offered up should be the best we can offer. At the same time Karma Yoga teaches us that we can never count on the outcome, whatever our best efforts: this is not in our hands. However, if we perform to the best of our ability, without undue attention on the result, then the end -result will look after itself; we will have played our part; whatever the result, we can accept it with equanimity: skill in action and evenness of mind. Easy to say, but difficult, of course, but the Gita encourages us to take this path. WASHING DISHES TO WASH DISHES Karma Yoga, under different names is a wisdom found in other eastern traditions. It is woven into the Tao Te Ching, which encourages us ‘to act without acting’. On discouraging end-gaining, Chuang Tsu says: “When you are betting for tiles in an archery contest you shoot with skill. When you are betting for fancy buckles, you worry about your aim. And when you are betting for gold you are a nervous wreck”. The same skill is there, but we are in the moment, and relaxed. Think of the Zen archer who spends months or years drawing the bow, until finally the arrow releases itself! Think of the Japanese tea ceremony, where the ritual of preparation supersedes the drinking; or calligraphy where the letters write themselves. Consider the attention given in the Buddhist tradition to walking meditation – the destination is less important than the mindful walking. This is both liberating and relaxing and teaches us to ‘go with the flow‘. It is indeed a ‘philosophy of relaxation’ or ‘poised living’. PATH OF SERVICE Service (Seva) and Charity (Dana) to others are of course a mixture of Karma and Bhakti Yoga. Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Swami Sivananda were all great karma yogis; as indeed are all the unsung carers in society, in the

inherent recognition that the same Self underlies all beings. TURNING THE WHEEL OF DHARMA The Gita teaches that ‘all life is sacrifice’ because at every moment something gives of itself to allow us to be. Since sacrifice supports life, Krishna encourages us to play our part in this cosmic drama, by offering up all our work and duties as a sacrifice: “All life turns on this law, Oh Arjuna”. “From food, creatures come into being; from rain is the birth of food; from sacrifice rain comes into being and sacrifice is born of work. (3:13). When we perform actions in the spirit of Yajna, we help to turn the ‘wheel of Dharma’ and to contribute to the natural order. We fulfil our functions as human beings in the intricate balance of creation. BE LIKE THE LOTUS FLOWER The Gita states that no karma attaches to actions performed in the spirit of Karma Yoga. It likens this attitude to the lotus flower resting on the lake surface, its petals untouched by water, ‘in the world, but not of the world’: “One who resigns all his actions to the Supreme Being and works without any personal attachments, is not soiled by sin, as a lotus leaf is not wetted by water”. (5:12) A MODERN PATH Along with Bhakti Yoga, it is said that Karma Yoga is the most suitable and accessible path for the modern era. It was reinstated for us by Krishna from the deepest antiquity: ‘in the revolution of times immemorial this doctrine was forgotten by men’. In this frantic age of ‘getting and spending’ where many of us have little time to sit and meditate, Karma Yoga is a precious gift. Hari Om Tat Sat. Michael teaches in the north east of Ireland.


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Reviews Later in the book, lotus pose is featured! This one we hadn’t tried. The child I was teaching was interested in the story of the lotus and how it grows. The book finishes with a beautiful meditation where you imagine you are floating on a cloud. We closed by thinking of something that makes us feel happy. My mini yogi exclaimed that yoga makes him happy! I then asked him to rate the book out of 10. The response was, could he rate it more than 10? I said yes and the feedback was 15/15. A big thumbs up! By Michelle Lang, Studio 70 Glasgow.

Kids Yoga, by Karin Eklund Matador Books ISBN978-1-78803-339-8 Category: Children’s Non Fiction

chair yoga and relaxation for people with limited mobility or other special needs carol godridge

When I was handed the book to review, I was captivated by the beautiful illustrations. I couldn’t wait to try it with my Saturday morning group of mini yogis age 4-7. Each yoga pose is inspired by nature and animals. This helps kids to use their imagination as to how it would really feel to be an animal or a tree! For teachers, it’s a great tool to use creating yoga journeys and stories. I took the book along to my class and waited in anticipation for them to arrive. I only had one mini yogi this particular Saturday who has been attending for a year. So he is a bit of a seasoned practitioner now! At the start of class, I play a game with the children using a bean bag, where we pass it around and do a ‘check in’. Whoever has the bean bag first, must choose a colour that represents their mood and they then describe why. My mini yogi informed me that he was ‘red’ because he was angry that he had nothing to eat before he came along. Initially he thought the poses were too easy, having already practiced them. However, we were able to look at the poses from a slightly different angle due to the descriptions given in the book. It also inspired us to get creative and do swaying tree, which he loved. The warrior sequence was one that my mini yogi was familiar with. However, he was looking at the book with great concentration and copying the stance of the warrior in the picture.


Chair Yoga CD Composed and delivered by Carol Godridge Yoga Scotland and Satyananda trained and registered Yoga Teacher. £7 + £1.50 p&p from Carol Godridge, Ben Doran, Ayr Street, Moniaive, Dumfriesshire DG3 4HW. Tel: 01848 200681 or email: yoga@cgodridge.plus.com This CD has two complete tracks with a stickmen chart and a few words of guidance for the student or a helper to refer to. I practiced both sessions, listening to the CD, with the chart at my side. Carol has a clear and precise way of instructing the student, with no excess words so it is easy to follow and gives the student time to adjust in a posture, as any individual would need to do. The timing is very good and does not feel rushed at all, very evenly paced.

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Reviews Both sequences are basically the same but the second track encourages the student try a little more in the posture so there is opportunity to progress, deepen and experiment in the stretches. Both CDs start with an invigorating guided tapping all over the body, arms, legs, back, chest, head and face. Waking the senses, ready for stretching. First track: Next are the stretches through the body starting with toes then ankles, knees, fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and face then stretching arms, forward bend and a twist both ways, this has time to allow a helper to aid the student if needed. The session finishes with a relaxation, starting to focus on the breath and then relaxing the body bit by bit ending with a lovely visualisation. Second track: Follows a similar pattern but goes a little deeper into the stretches, adds some eye exercise and a back stretch then finishes with a more in depth relaxation around the body and a longer delightful visualisation. This is a very good CD for the student it was designed for. It is not too long so wouldn’t tire people but long enough to get an all round stretch and feel as if you had a proper practice. It would be easy to follow without the sheet of stickmen, but the stickmen are useful for the student and the helper. I would recommend this CD. Gill Gibbens

Fascia: What it is and why it matters, by David Lesondak Pub. Handspring. £24.95 ISBN 9 781909 1411551 I generally find anatomy and physiology books, full of complicated technical terms, and almost impossible to read. Which is why, this book is so remarkable. It is both readable and enjoyable. I have been fascinated by Fascia ever since my Teacher Training days when the Tutor brought in chicken legs and showed us the thin membrane that holds them together. I like the idea, of this one continuous structure throughout the body which has been called the ‘soft skeleton’. Lesondak says, “Imagine a silvery-white material, flexible, and sturdy in equal measure, a substance that penetrates and surrounds every muscle, coats every bone, covers every organ, and envelopes every nerve.” He goes on to say the fascia is the most misunderstood tissue in the body and this neglect can have far reaching effects. It’s made of a kind of gel, is elastic, and as such, benefits from warming up the body or applying heat to any stiff areas. Now where have we heard that before? The fascia forms a “fibrous network, a single continuity... forming a body-wide network that responds to force and

tension”. So, it is important in yoga and Lesondak is a yoga practitioner himself. Indeed, his practice has helped him to understand and to become a leading expert on Fascia and a fascial therapist and trainer. The chapter on fascia and the brain is very good. He makes a case for the benefits of meditation in physiological terms connecting both the fascia and the nervous system. Tension Deficit Disorder (TDD) can be worked on to release stress, stiffness and inflammation. He also talks about the growing body of work suggesting a relationship between fascia and cancer and, “while bodybased, integrative therapies (i.e. massage, yoga and acupuncture) are being used to improve the symptoms and the quality of life of cancer patients, there is also the tantalizing notion that such therapies could potentially serve to assist in ridding the body of cancer”. Wow! I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is fascinating and beautifully illustrated throughout, and I hope that it will soon be part of the TTC libraries. Carol Godridge


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Reviews yoga nidra for healing carol godridge

Yoga Nidra for Healing by Carol Godridge £7 + £1.50 p&p from Carol Godridge, Ben Doran, Ayr Street, Moniaive, Dumfriesshire DG3 4HW. Tel: 01848 200681 or email: yoga@cgodridge.plus.com After a very long day of sitting at my desk and working, I listened to ‘Yoga Nidra for Healing’ by Carol Godridge. The CD is essentially a 25-minute body scan from head to toe in that tranquillizing voice of Carol’s. In high RP, Carol provides guidance on spreading awareness across the body and transports the self into the world of sleep within minutes. This is a good CD for someone who struggles to be still and finds living without a ‘to do’ list difficult. As a workaholic, under Carol’s guidance, I was able to make peace with the emptiness of not working for those 25 minutes. While, I began to dream of holidays and my plans for Christmas, I also became aware of my body’s need to exercise at a different hour of the day. Yoga Nidra is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘yogic sleep’ which in my experience essentially means going into the early stage of the sleep cycle. Carol’s CD enabled me to switch off in a way that I would otherwise have found difficult to do and to connect with my inner world. I recommend Carol’s work to anyone who is seeking to switch off from the busyness of the outer world to find deeper awareness and meaning within the inner universe of the human body. A. Sandhu

Another great weekend at Lendrick Lodge

Photograph shows participants from the residential ETT group at Lendrick Lodge.


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Yogic Cook Finely chop the onion and carrot and fry till soft, add mushrooms, fry some more. Add olives, sun dried tomatoes and tomato puree, fry some more. Add the passata. Add dried mixed herbs and bay leaf, salt, pepper and chilli flakes, add water and simmer. Break up and add the cooked haggis to the Bolognese sauce, add more water if needed. Boil turnip till soft, mash, add margarine salt and black pepper. The gnocchi in added to a large pan of boiling water, hard boil till it floats then another minute or so. Serve, enjoy! Nikki Fraser

Hagbol... An alternative burns supper {vegan} Haggis Bolognese, with gnocchi and turnip mash 500g Vegetarian Haggis Small turnip/swede 500g gnocchi 2 large onions 2 large carrots 3 large mushrooms 15-20 olives chopped 2 tbs sun dried tomatoes chopped 2 tbs tomato puree 500g of passata 1 bay leaf 1 tbs dried mixed herbs Pinch of: salt black pepper chilli flakes Olive oil for frying Water for simmering If you are boiling the haggis, put it on first as it usually takes an hour.

Sweet and Savoury Porridge Half cup porridge oats Water/milk (soya/almond) Dollop of margarine Pinch of: salt black pepper chilli flakes {optional} Make porridge as normal, with water or half water half milk. Add margarine, salt and black pepper while simmering. Serve with a whole banana, sliced. Marcella Sands


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View from a Bike! As opposed to view from the chair... by Gill Gibbens: Chairwoman

Why am I on a bike? Well, I was reminded this year that we should acknowledge changes but not necessarily give in to them. My husband and I both have bikes, but the window of opportunity was getting smaller. It might be lack of time, it could be raining, too windy, too hot, too cold, sore backs/hips so many obstacles that the window of opportunity became more like a mediaeval arrow slit! Now we have adapted and bought electric bikes and the world has opened up to us again. We even have stuff in the tyres to prevent punctures, we don’t have to get off to go up hills and they keep going for 20 plus miles before the battery runs out. Plenty of time to enjoy ourselves outside together once more. I am writing this in November so it’s strange thinking about the January magazine. I am watching a squirrel running all over the beautifully coloured beech tree opposite the house. The sun is shining and I’m wishing to be outside on my new bike. Just too nice to be indoors. This is also a new start for YS in many ways and many changes and adaptations are being, and have been made. We all have times of change and this is Yoga Scotland’s time. We are now an incorporated SCIO (Scottish Charity Incorporated Organisation) and have a new constitution for YS under the charitable status of OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator). There is no longer an Executive Committee. We are now the Board of Trustees. Welcome to the now eight Yoga Scotland Trustees! I’m Gill Gibbens, Interim Chair, and my forte is delegation! Olive Gardiner, our new Treasurer is very experienced in accounts and in charity governance and will be explaining about SCIO in the magazine. Kath McDonald is our Secretary and advisor for the OGT (Ongoing Training) programme at the moment with help from others. Kath is also on the training sub-committee… Mick Gallagher is our Editor and making his unique mark with the Magazine. Susie Arnott is Web Manager tackling the new look and other changes coming to the web site, also a training subcommittee member. Lynsey McFarlane is a member of the training subcommittee. Gill Swales has just been voted on the Board and has an interest with PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups). Ulrike Graham has just been voted on the Board so will find her niche and area of expertise when ready.


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Yoga SCOTLAND Plus Bijam (Jenni Connaughton) is working as our PVG officer. We also have Elaine Samson, our Coordinator who is not a Trustee but a valued and experienced employee who attends all Board meetings to help us keep up to date on the training courses. Maria Rawlings, our general Administrator and data protection officer, deals with the day to day running of YS. The Glasgow Teacher Training course that started this September has adopted a new format developed under the same syllabus but delivered in a slightly different way. Feedback from previous courses plus ongoing review of courses has helped to inform and shape the changes. Cathy Swan is the course’s main Hatha tutor, Elizabeth Roberts teaches Philosophy and we welcome Sue Jenkins as the new Anatomy & Physiology tutor. The course also benefits from a range of experienced visiting tutors. Nowadays with more freedom of speech (provided it is politically correct) it becomes harder and harder to please everyone and to guess what is actually being said? Everyone has a view and most are swayed by the people with the most convincing ‘gift of the gab’. We could all practise more tolerance and compromise and look at making our own decisions based on facts and evidence, not hearsay or personal opinion. As we said at the recent EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) part of our role as Trustees is to have an obligation to look after Yoga Scotland and act in its best interests. We also want to encourage members to be active in making decisions. So coming up at the next AGM in March we would like you, all the members to decide if you want to continue Yoga Scotland’s associate membership of the EUY (European Union of Yoga). We need you to ask yourselves a few questions: • Who should go to meetings and report back? Currently, members have to pay their own way unless they are chosen to teach at their congress. (There is an application process and it is not guaranteed that you will be chosen.) • What do you as a YS member benefit from this? • How might Yoga Scotland benefit from this? YS pays £425 per year for the associate membership and we have been members since about May 2016. I understand that our associate membership gives us access for any member of YS to attend the congress or meetings, if they want to. So far, Joy Charnley attended the 2017 Congress and Judi Ritchie attended the EUY conference in Valencia reporting back to the YS members in issues 53 and 54 of the YS mag. Please take some time to visit the EUY web site to find more information on what it is all about. Before deciding what you want for YS. Here are the views of Gabi Gillerson, EUY President: “I share my own views with you as to the benefits of EUY Membership. “The EUY is a forum for exchange on many yoga related issues, by delegates that represent federations from many different countries. The structure of the EUY is made up of four teams – Education, Communications, Meetings and Publications and Congress teams – and delegates (whether full or associate members) participate in these teams to discuss issues and complete tasks. There are two meetings a year where all the delegates get together to report, share and make decisions.

“The underlying principle that unites all federations and delegates is the respect for upholding yoga’s tradition and setting standards for yoga teacher training in Europe. The minimum training requirement is 500 contact hours over four years so as to develop the spiritual maturity of the teacher of yoga. However the EUY does not exclude members for not having the set requirements, instead they are a forum in which members are supported and encouraged to fulfil the requirements. “The EUY is a platform for discussion with European governments and yoga’s accreditation and discussion among delegates how best to go about this process. It allows delegates a space to share issues specific to the teaching of or training in yoga; a platform for sharing and for learning together.” Looking forward to seeing you at the Uphall Community Centre for the AGM on Saturday 10th March 2018 I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a very Happy New Year Yours in Yoga Gill

Yoga Scotland Trustee Board Chair Gill Gibbens Treasurer Olive Gardiner Secretary & Training Sub Kath McDonald Training & Web Manager Susie Arnott Training -Sub Lynsey McFarlane Magazine Editor Mick Gallagher Trustee Gill Swales Trustee Ulrike Graham PVG Officer Bijam/Jenni Connaughton Co-ordinator Elaine Samson Email: elaine@yogascotland.org.uk Administrator & Data Protection Officer Maria Rawlings Email: maria@yogascotland.org.uk


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Guidelines for Contributors Yoga Scotland Trustees Articles and news items are welcome from everyone, whether a teacher, student teacher, ordinary member or non-member. If you don’t want to write – but have news or ideas – get in touch anyway. Yoga Scotland is keen that all yoga schools and traditions are represented in the magazine. Good quality photos of events are also very welcome. Please check word length with the Editor. For the next issue articles or small contributions on the theme of ‘Yoga and Sport’ will be particularly welcome. Please send articles, letters, emails, photos, information, news or ideas to the Editor (details below).

Chairperson: Gill Gibbens Email: actingchair@yogascotland.org.uk Treasurer: Olive Gardiner Email: treasurer@yogascotland.org.uk Secretary: Kath McDonald Email: secretary@yogascotland.org.uk Training and Web Manager: Susie Arnott Email: Susie.arnott@mac.com Magazine Editor: Mick Gallagher Email: mgallagher302@gmail.com PVG Adviser: Bijam Email: pvg@yogascotland.org.uk

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: Mick Gallagher 43 Gleddoch Road Penilee, Glasgow G52 4BE

Maria Rawlings 6 Southwick Road Dalbeattie DG5 4BS

Tel: 07905581309 mgallagher302@gmail.com


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

Non-member £130 £110 £110 £85 £60 £50 £35

Insert rates


YS Member £95 £80 £80 £65 £45 £30 1st advert free £15 per advert thereafter £100

Payable at time of booking. 10% discount for full year’s booking (3 issues).

Advert Sizes and Specifications Full page

185mm x 267mm deep 216mm x 303mm deep for bleed

Half Page

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Quarter Page

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‘Bleed’ refers to items which go right to the edge of the page without a white border. Please supply adverts as high resolution jpegs (300dpi) where possible although pdf files also accepted. N.B. When embedding pictures in word files (for adverts or articles) please also send pictures separately as high resolution jpeg files (300dpi). Size and picture specification queries can be made to: suegrant23@me.com Design/artwork by Sue Grant 01848 200331 suegrant23@me.com


Member: Lynsey McFarlane

Yoga Scotland Administrators Maria Rawlings (General) maria@yogascotland.org.uk Training Co-ordinator: Elaine Samson elaine@yogascotland.org.uk

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

Cover photo Jane Chalmers with the Amphetameanies. Photo © DD Photography. Please send in any photos you have which depict aspects of yoga.

Oops Sorry! In last issue {54} Teaching the unteachable should have been credited to FIONA CLARENCE instead of FIONA McOWAN, apologies.

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. © 2018 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.

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