I am a British Wheel of Yoga and Life Centre registered teacher. I have mentored for the Life Centre in Notting Hill Gate, mentoring Yoga teachers in training and written regular articles for Yoga Magazine International.
I currently work with the classical postures of Hatha Yoga, using Vinyasa Krama (Sequencing – placing the body intelligently, step by step). I love to create Hatha Yoga Asana Mala- a prayer like thread of postures which produce a dynamic (full of energy and not fast) flowing practice, based on the philosophy of the sages (Advaita Vedanta in particular).
I place emphasis on FEEL - Flowing Effortless Energetics of Life (physical), or Free Eternal Ecstatic and Light (spiritual); derived from my background training in the Shaolin Kung Fu.
Shaolin wu shu (martial arts) originated from the monastery in the Songshan mountain range in China. What continues to inspire me to this day is that Bodhidharma, the legendary monk who was believed to have revealed his 'kung fu' (meaning 'skill through effort' and which is the same implied meaning of hatha yoga) to the weakened monks of the time, in order to improve their well being, is also believed by some in the Kriya Yoga Tradition to have wondered from Southern India all the way through to China - After meditating in front of a wall for nine years he was eventually allowed in to Shaolin to help them apease their sufferings.
I have spent the last 30 years uninterruptedly yin and yanging between the practices of yoga (union) and kung-fu of course to learn they share the same roots and branches which co-exist between earth and heaven.
I teach kriyas (cleansing actions) and pranayamas (breath / energy expansion) and enjoy watching people relax, let go, contemplate, chant and meditate and sometimes sing and dance too!
I have been inspired by the teachings of my parents and guru Sathya Sai Baba who both showed me how to love; my mother (alav-hashalom / God rest her soul) who shared her yoga practice with me in the early 70's, and by B.K.S. Iyengar (and his work of art 'Light on Yoga' from which I self practiced for ten years), Shandor Remete and Sasha Markovic (both Shadow Yoga), Jean Hall and John Scott (both Astanga Yoga).
My last teacher was Sasha Markovic, who mentored me in 2006 when I studied with the Life Centre, on their level 2 course for established teachers. Sasha revolutionised my practice and thus made my life so much easier. I am most grateful. She provided me with a very clear mirror (Sathya - truth), which directed me to strengthen, slow down and increase my awareness. This has led me to profound emotional, mental and physical healing, as well as shifted my awareness back inwards, through pranayama, dharana (concentration), yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and dhyana (meditation) practices. I have discovered new sources of vitality and confidence, as well as artistic and scientific (a weak area for me at school) skill, beyond which I had 'thought' possible. When we stop thinking and start inward-gazing, consciousness and matter (Siva and his lovely bride Shakti) gift us with this knowledge via the medium of an open wide heart.
All of the wonderful people I have mentioned above, remind me in their own way, that 'I am' the way. They remind me that 'self practice' cannot be practiced. It is a view of and alignment with the soul; that which is real and unchanging. In my darkest hour of loss and isolation, this divinity within me was already in perfect union or Yoga. Such divinity does not ‘practice’ to ‘do’ anything, or arrive anywhere. It is, everywhere and always.
'The only journey is from Here to Here
So we are really going No Where or NoW here'.
I incorporate 'methods' from Taoist and Buddhist practices as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Bhakti, Jnana and Karma Yoga. These may all be classified under the name Raja Yoga, the Royal Path. I am naturally inspired by all religions and understand that the Saints, Mystics and Avatars were and are, all Yogis.
Truly though, these are all just names and forms. My heart makes no differentiation between them, for there is only one Yoga; the YOGA OF LOVE’. This is the sole/soul reason that I continue to dance this dance;
I promote safe and simple practice with the effect of stilling the mind through a withdrawal of the senses and understanding of the ego. Some days I teach ‘leg bent’ and others ‘leg straight’; although the essence is one, no two trees look or grow the same way. Some days I eat only veggies and sometimes I eat too much chocolate. Flexibility in posture, technique, mind and word. Acceptance and forgiveness are how we endure this dimension constructively. The highs and lows cometh and goeth and the yogi observes them like fleeting clouds, knowing that s/he is the space or stillness in which all things occur.
Some teachers taught me ‘this is the right way’ and others said, ‘this is the wrong way’. I always enjoyed watching them adopt their own methods or bend their rules when it suited them and this helped me to learn to be adaptable and use whatever works safely and effectively, tested over time via personal experience. The bodymind intelligence always tells the truth. Teachers and students are for inspiring eachother, Siva and Shakti dance.
My guru taught me to ‘love all and serve all’, especially those that have helped me on my path; some I have met personally, some are a picture on a wall in a town without a name, or the recollection of watching the gait of a Sadhu running barefoot up to Gangotri in the freezing winter. Many have been the students that have come to my classes over the years. People keep teaching me that we are all unique and so I make little attempt to offer advice or change anyone anymore. The truth is seeing our reflection in the appearances that surround us. We realise that yoga emanates from within and that there is nothing to learn from 'out there' that is not already present 'in here'. We all remember yoga, as it reveals itself to us from the centre. All questions dissolve in the knowledge of the Self. Yoga is the art of listening, letting go and undoing.
Life is a wonderful cosmic jigsaw, from which we take many pieces and place them in many different ways. Amongst them, my own face seems to change to mirror the people that I meet.I see that as I grow older, all these memories and beings, although 'apart from me', are still a part of me; nothing ever comes or really leaves. My parents although passed, are still here. Past and future scroll out from present moment awareness.
Illusion confusion? Transcending my mind has shown me that in a certain light, I am an illusion. One that breathes, eats, sleeps and enjoys a simple uncomplicated life. I come from consciousness, ‘am that’ and shuttle back and forth each moment like the bleeping in and out of the atom ;)
Taiji (Tai Chi) / Qi Gong /Nei Gong
I also teach Taiji, (Tai Chi), Qi Gong (Chi Kung) and Nei Gong derived from my experience in Shaolin Kung Fu. I have studied some Yang, Wu and Chen Style forms and choose to devise my own forms for the time being. All are based upon the classical precepts, with a focus upon the cultivation of Chi (energy)........Inspired from the heart of the Shaolin Temple and by the rogue monk who was expelled from its walls - by the young boy who secretly watched from a treetop the ‘inner teachings’ of the old man practicing by the moon reflecting on the water, like all monkeys, I experiment with what comes and use whatever sticks.
In 2009 I commenced a daily Nei Gong practice which blossomed out of a daily pranayama practice. The Nei Gong took me to new heights and in cliche, of which I had only ever dreamed of before. I finally found the bliss/ecstasy I had been seeking all these years (through all of my addictive behaviour both on and off the yoga mat) and have since been learning that such bliss has always been here and once again, to access it is not really something one practices but rather cultivates with constant awareness.Through the many highs and attachement to this ecstasy and learning to ground or return to the 'low' or mudane world again, it becomes clearer to me that the 'middle way' of the buddha i.e. to balance yin and yang is the easiest way to find peace and harmony here and hereafter.The Nei Gong practices (internal kung fu) also revealed to me my true inner darkness - raw unprocessed feelings and thoughts - OOOOERRRRRR and OUCH!!!!!!! Unless our awareness of the previously unaware or unconscious comes to light, the light that we see is only tainted with the shadows of falsity.
I enjoy both healing and martial aspects of Taiji; the essence of opposites and their play in nature and that truly, there are no secrets, just secretive people! We are, as Carlos Castaneda put it, unique ‘bundles of energy’, all relating intrinsically to the one.
I am more interested in simple movements that can help one relax and unwind, than sharing complicated patterns that lead one away from the belly and into the head. This is another way of saying that I like to teach the bodymind, watch people learn without effort and see them having fun. Over time, what may have seemed complex, having been broken down, is simplicity itself. Yin and Yang, binary, all quantums leaping from the one, which sprung from the none.
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