Sunday night zoom classes started during the lockdown of March 2020 are open to all. You can join us from anywhere in the world, and the practices are suitable for complete beginners, while also providing some philosophical food for thought for those with more experience.
These classes are offered on an honesty box basis (which means you pay what you can).
The sessions will continue in 2021 as a journey through the seasons and a cyclical approach to yoga. Held around the times of traditional Celtic festivals, we will be drawing on stories and traditions native to the British Isles, while also looking at philosophical ideas from the Indian yoga tradition.
What both traditions share is attention to both our inner and outer environments. What might attention to the turning of the earth and its seasons teach us about our own inner landscapes and cycles? What might meditative awareness of our body, breath and mind teach us about the natural world and our role within in?
Our next session is on Sunday 7 March which is shortly before the Spring Equinox. At this time of year we experience days and nights of about the same length, which implies a certain sense of balance. A recent experience with a spring tide however reminded me that balance only exists within the context of extremes. This will be the theme we explore on our mats – can we find that precarious moment of balance at all layers of our being?
Sunday 7 March, 7.30-9.00pm – Spring Tides
Previous classes are available to catch up on video by registering for Home Practice Resources.
2021 – Being in the Cycles – A Journey Around the Sun
I am very fortunate to live at the edge of a village with a sweeping landscape which changes considerably with the seasons. I am able to observe the sun, moon and stars all from my windows, and step out into fields whenever I choose. I can walk from my house and see both the Cheviot Hills and the North Sea. We often get snow or at least a good frost in the winter. The grass verges in my village burst with daffodils in the Spring. The church yard has a heady scent of wild garlic in the early Summer and a wildflower meadow blooms well into August. The hedgerows are filled with blackberries in autumn and daylight hours change dramatically over the course of the year. The seasons provide a rhythm and consistency in which I find delight and also reassurance.
The philosophy of yoga teaches us that everything in the universe that exists outside of us, also exists within us. There is a space within us as deep and wide as the starry skies we might gaze into on a clear night.
To practice yoga is to journey in this inner landscape, and to practice yoga ‘in the cycles’ is to pay attention to its seasons.
We are all familiar with the four main seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter – but as part of this journey I wish to draw your attention more closely to the in-between times or liminal phases where we transition from one to the next.
Our Celtic ancestors gave names to these transition times – Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain. They were important festivals for people to gather and feast, make pilgrimages, visit holy wells or sacred sites, light fires and take part in ritual activities.
My interest in ‘being in the cycles’ is not so much about reconstructing historic festivals from the past, but in wondering what an appreciation of these shifts in the seasons of the year might mean for me in the present.
Specifically, I am interested in what it might mean to honour and appreciate the seasons of my inner landscape – could it be that I too have a Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, all with different weather forecasts and outlooks?
If so, how shall I celebrate when I transition from one season to another? Could I perhaps use my yoga practice to kindle an inner ‘ritual fire’ or go on a pilgrimage to an inner ‘holy well’?
These are the lines of enquiry we will pursue in ‘Being in the Cycles’. The sessions are open to all and require no prior knowledge, beliefs or experience – just a body that is breathing and an open mind.
- 31 January – Imbolc
- 7 March – Spring Equinox
- 18 April – Bealtaine
- 6 June – Summer Solstice
- 25 July – Lughnasadh
- 5 September – Autumn Equinox
- 24 October – Samhain
- 19 December – Winter Solstice
Women Only – Being in the Menstrual Cycles
For women only I am running a course of four sessions specifically about the experiences of menarche, menstruation and menopause. The aim is to bring more awareness to our menstrual cycles (or lack of them) and an appreciation of the cycle as a whole – each phase having its place and purpose in our overall sense of wellbeing and vitality.
We will learn yoga practices (movement, breathing and relaxation) which support us at different phases of our hormonal or life cycles.
Here is a rough outline of the four sessions:
- Being in the Cycles – introduction, connection and the basic practice.
- Sap Is Rising (Inner Spring) – menarche, maidens, pre-ovulation
- In Full Bloom (Inner Summer) – creativity, mothers, ovulation
- Harvesting and Clearing (Inner Autumn) – seeing clearly, crones, pre-menstruum, peri-menopause
- Blood and Tears (Inner Winter) – birth and death, grief, loss, exhaustion, menstruation
Further information coming soon!