Yoga and Sustainability | Pranayama and Yoga

Yoga and Sustainability

Essentially yoga teaches us to stop thinking in towards ourselves, and start going outwards. And there it is, as we breathe, something comes in and something goes out. In Iyengar yoga, we learn to open our chest to receive the prana on the inhalation and as the chest makes contact with the skin, our individual consciousness goes out, then as we exhale the universal consciousness comes into us. This is the state we reach where we experience peace, and that is why we do yoga.

Today in Pranayama class, I tried to pass on the principle of inter-connectedness through connecting the sound of the bee as heard in bramari, to our skeleton vibrating, the resonance of a vessel, the room and to the resonance of the world around us,and to Dharma. After class as we all departed, Derek Grant a keen student who has studied yoga in India several times said ‘well it’s all about co-operation’.

This is Dharma.
….and certainly I can say, Derek’s radiates it.


Over the last year, I’ve becoming increasingly interested in what the vedas brought to the subject of sustainability, and in how Iyengar illuminates Patanjali’s teachings on this. If you’ve read some of the earlier posts on this blog, you might have come across the concept of Prakrity – Nature. We are all a part of it. But its also a multifaceted interaction, and we can’t operate in isolation. When one thing is done in one place something is felt elsewhere. I was doing some gardening yesterday, and digging out the compost from underneath our wormery ( well the worms arrived by themselves!), digging out a hole right under the pile, to give more space for the old tomato plant stems to go on top and more good stuff to chomp down. Something is uncovered from the past, egg shells that haven’t been broken down, avocado stones that will never break down, but simultaneously something else is covered up literally as I pile the new compost up, I can no longer see the green shoots or weeds that were there underneath. The light is gone there, whilst light is cast on something else. As potential is revealed, other potential is extinguished, and so it goes on in each and every moment.

One image I like very much, came from Birjoo Mehta who delivered a fascinating lecture whilst we were in India last year on ‘Senses of Perception’. He described the consciousness like water; the river being the collective and the pond being the individual consciousness. The pond/individual becomes identified with the car, the job, the house but Not the river.
Iyengar teaches us how to break the banks of the pond and reconnect to the river. The individual consciousness is something we gain around 18 months old, but it is this individual consciousness that is responsible for our unhappiness, and the emergence of the kleshas.


A Long way to go!

Emerging from our very old dilapidated 2 storey victorian garage, will be a new yoga space, a place where we hope people will enjoy practicing together, a place for wellbeing, a sense of community, a part of a greater whole. It’s happening this winter and spring and we have planning permission from Rushcliffe Borough council,to realise a lovely design created by Nottingham based award winning architect Julian Marsh.


Yoga is an intrinsic part of our development as artists, and our space will be for that too.


Last Thursday’s making music at West Bridgford Library with Biant Singh

As people yoga teaches us how to think of ourselves as a part of all living things, nature and our environment. So we just cant make anything in isolation, and we try to stay awake to the realisation of the affects of what we do, on everything else. A group of us; are part of developing a touring project at the moment called White Cane; musicians Takashi Kikuchi, Duncan Chapman, Mickel Smithen, and yogis Geoffrey Fielding, Natalie Speake and Polly Wiltshire, come together to explore where the unique perception of visually impaired artists comes up from the ground through salamanda tandem, leading audiences to re-connect with the world around us in performance.
A new short film came out this week about it

Thus, I feel most grateful, for the tools for life that Guruji, Geetaji, Prashant Iyengar, and the wonderful senior teachers like Margaret Austin have given through the Iyengar system of teaching and training. And then there is learning the art, and for that I am most grateful to my students who have taught me everything, how to make the tools alive and responsive through our direct contact and two way interaction. Thank you!

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