Christmas lesson for teens

This time of year, it can feel like we are working against our own bodies, pushing ourselves up out of bed when its dark, taking vitamins, supplements, coffee, chocolate or pro-plus to keep going until the mid-winter feast which pushes us even further into activity and consumption.   I have had the benefit of slowing down almost to a halt this past few weeks and I watch how the teens are pushing themselves to fill in UCAS forms, preparing for Mocks, getting on buses in the dark and coming home in the dark.

As yoga teachers, we are in such a privileged position, we can nourish and care for these precious souls, offering them solace in this frantic time, teaching them to slow down completely. Their bodies are telling them to sleep (91/2 hours per night between 13-19) yet most of our teens sleep on average 6 hours per night.

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Yoga from a priest’s perspective

If, with your religion, your aim is to deepen your relationship with God, then this will unfold  in a pace with you getting to know yourself. The way I see yoga, other than making your body feel more soft and flexible, is that it will also soften up the tensions between the body and the soul and take you to a place of a better balance, closer to yourself.   This is what we need in order to come closer to God, other people and the everything else. I don’t see it as a way to come to perfection, which may be a criticism from the Christian perspective, where we talk in terms of grace and faith.  All kinds of self development can be transmuted into an ego-project, but that has nothing to do with its roots or practise, but rather has to do with the intention. You can practise yoga to deepen your relationship with yourself and your higher power, whether you are Christian, Hindu or a Buddhist.

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Report on NTNU conference in Norway, next steps in research in yoga in schools.

It was an honour to be invited to spend time in the presence of a very small and select committee consisting of the father of Yoga research in schools, Prof. Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD from Harvard Medical School as well as his esteemed colleagues; Dr Shirley Telles from the Patanjali Institute in India, Professor Usha Nayar from Tata Insitute in Bombay, Professor Ingunn Hagen and Associate Professor Gunvor from NTNU, Trondheim Psychology Dept., Antoinetta and her husband Eros from Bologna University as well as research students in the field of yoga and psychology.

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Relaxing your feet, relaxing your legs, relaxing your SELF!

Young people spend an inordinate amount of time taking care of their image. The grooming, the hair, the make up or body products – all to create a persona.

That persona often becomes the mask that we carry throughout adulthood until, for some, it becomes to heavy to bear – then comes the nervous breakdown, the visit to the psychotherapist, the first yoga class.

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Yoga in the curriculum

In the latest article by the Weekend Telegraph, Ms Pindoria was interviewed about her yoga intervention at Haberdashers Aske’s school.

This is a conversation that the yoga community would do well to continue, what are the pitfalls and demands of bringing yoga in to schools?

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Mind the mat

In our accelerated society, it has become the norm to be activated through sensationalist shocks. When we do this, we immediately feel the need to “fix” something that is broken. When we are told how many teens are depressed, in states of anxiety or suicidal, it grabs our interest and we listen. We feel good, when we then feel we can do something to “help”.

I am the first to recognise the awful situation many young people are in today, having worked closely with teens for the last 30 years.  There is a lot of talk about the “mental health crisis” of our young.  How do we get a proper handle on this and some real perspective?

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Confluence to rise together – the Instill conference

That quiet awkwardness at the beginning of something new. People milling in, some familiar, some not. Faces travelled from India, US, Norway, northern UK to be together celebrating the majesty of yoga. Often being a teacher can be a lonely job, travelling from school to school, teaching yoga because on some subtle level we feel the need and the calling to do so.

Coming together in our “sangha” to listen and speak with uplifting, supportive and encouraging speakers puts yoga firmly on the school map.

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Namaste in House of Commons!

It has been an extraordinary week but maybe for me personally, what was most extraordinary was on Monday evening, where everything happened in slow motion.

The exiting on to Parliament square, Big Ben towering over hundreds of people with Corbyn placards and a fervent, excited energy quivering over the entire area, which reminded me of the main square in Prague during the velvet revolution.

Entering into the House of Commons through airport like security and noticing immediately fellow yogis, simply because of their energy amidst the fervent rushing about of politicians.

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Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all

At a time when the focus of education in the UK seems to be all about exams, outcomes and results, it might be healthy and almost revolutionary to quote Aristotle, who famously introduced the idea of educating the heart.

What do we mean by this?

The Dalai Lama has been outspoken about education in the last few years using exactly the same quote to bring in the idea of teaching conflict resolution in schools through teaching methods for internal and therefore external peace.

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