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when you pause

as you let your mind settle

and notice again the quiet breath lengthening naturally,

watch for the pauses – between the breathing in and the breathing out

and see how the breath

pools into silence.

as you do your practice –

live for these still, deep pools

cool, reflective…

when you breathe out

standing – breathe softly a while – your breath will become slower

now – everything is ready – gravity and breath have made all the preparations

your out breath can lower your soft body back into itself again

your shoulders lead the way – sliding down your back like rain on a windowpane

can you feel your pelvis bathing in it?

breath pools and spreads at your feet

you are washed through

there is a peculiar silence when it rains, and that morning in the valley all the noises seemed to have stopped – the noises of the farm, the tractor, and the chopping of wood. there was only the dripping from the roof, and the gutters were gurgling. it was quite extraordinary to feel the rain on one, to get wet to the skin, and to feel the earth and the trees receive the rain with great delight; for it hadn’t rained for some time, and now the little cracks in the earth were closing up. the noises of the many birds were made still be the rain; the clouds were coming in from the east, dark, heavily laden, and were being drawn towards the west; the hills were being carried by them, and the smell of the earth was spreading into every corner. all day it rained. J Krishnamurti

when you breathe in

standing – wait while the breath and body settle – breathe naturally – no control

now

see how the in breath lifts the soft sail of the body

opening your waist – full sail on the breeze

and does your spine absorb the movement fully?

see how the strings that hold your shoulders slacken,
so they float up – buoyant

how hopeful this feels!

a small and certain resurrection …

silences

continuing with our breath experiments –

lie down with your knees bent and feet on the floor

tune in to your natural breath as it swims deep

do nothing

just notice

the way the breath moves and pauses into silence

notice

– how you don’t need to do anything to create the pauses
– how they lengthen and deepen into a fresh space if you relax
– how they feel very quiet

when you begin your practice – stay with the breath carefully – breathe exactly as you have been doing on the floor – noticing the silences

notice how they offer shape to your practice – like the silences in music

in that space in between there is silence
more than anything else silence…and space. sandra sabatini

experiment

a refreshing idea to try in your practice …

lie on your back – knees bent and feet on the floor

do nothing to direct your breath

do nothing to your breath

in particular – don’t think you have to do special ‘yoga breathing’ (by this i mean – don’t get serious about it, trying to make a special sound, or direct breath somewhere, as if it doesn’t already know the way.)

notice what happens when you place no control AT ALL on your breath

can you feel how the body is moving?

lie there for a while. keep noticing

when you are ready, just do your normal practice – breathing exactly like you did on the floor
(i know – it feels ridiculous – but trust me)! just keep noticing.

learn how to listen to your body, going with it and not against it, avoiding all effort or strain.
Vanda Scaravelli

green madrigal

Peace, my stranger, is a tree
Growing naturally through all its
Discomforts, trials and emergencies
Of growth.
It is green and resolved
It breathes with anguish
Yet it releases peace, peace of mind
Growth, movement.
It walks this greening sweetness
Throughout all the earth,
Where sky and sun tender its habits
As I would yours.

Lynette Roberts, Green Madrigal (I) 1948

with care

many of you will have seen the beautiful book ‘the lost words’ by robert macfarlane and jackie morris.

in july, an album of music inspired by the book will be released.

i hope you enjoy this inspiring video preview – a gentle glimpse into an artistic collaboration, with nature at its heart, reminding us to ‘walk through the world with care’ – or you might say – with yoga.

revision

i’m revising for an exam at the moment, so for the next few weeks i’ll simply post a photo, a poem, a link or a quotation that has inspired me. i hope you will enjoy them and perhaps use them to prompt your own meditations.

after the exam, ‘normal’ service will resume!

today – a quotation.

The mind needs to be clear and as empty as possible. Fill it with techniques and instructions and we’re back to the doing.
J Krishnamurti

earth

place your bare feet on the ground carefully – stand on the earth – it’s been waiting for you

align your feet comfortably – are they looking in the same direction?

exhaling let the breath sweep your body into the earth – feet open – toes spread wide – heels sink

the feet touch the earth – the earth holds the feet

wait – still

that’s all

as you become less active
you give the ground permission
to become more active
more powerful
more healing
sandra sabatini

idling along

i recently heard that Bath Tourist Board are trying to encourage people to stay longer in the city. visitors rush in to see the Roman Baths, perhaps stop off at the Spa, stand outside the abbey for a photo, and then off they go.

with no time to acquire a sense of the place, no time to absorb its subtleties, to sit in a park or idle along the river – how much of Bath have they missed?

with so many interesting postures to choose from, it’s easy to fill time on the yoga mat, like a tourist with a ‘to do’ list, cramming all your favourites into every practice. this is not yoga.

try spending longer, much longer, with fewer postures. be more generous with them. shower them with breath as your body idles along. find the back streets and the quiet gems of the practice.

take your time – you have plenty

find the expanse of the breath in one posture – slowly – move on the exhale – wait – the in breath will reach you from far away – space opening like wide parkland.

wander along through the practice – stopping off when you feel like it… look at the view…

“Salute thyself: see what thy soul doth wear…
And tumble up and down what thou finds there.” George Herbert