meditation, yoga

2021 – A magic year to begin a practice?

Recently, I was talking to my mother about how grateful I am to have grounding practices such as yoga and meditation, that I can turn to in this life.

Especially now, amidst what feels like a relentless pandemic. With all of its twists and turns, and its many climbs and dives.

Often, when I’m practicing what I guess is a near-constant (or until as soon as I remember) state of presence – It’s yoga; It’s meditation; It’s zen; It’s mindfulness; It’s all of these things, and more – I notice how I recall the feeling of being completely and ignorantly lost, without realising, in the past.

Or as one of my idols, Ram Dass, says, ‘being high’, and how, now, my practice allows me something far more expansive and open in it’s place – ‘being free’.

Or at the very least, it offers me the opportunity to feel freedom – when I remember it is there to be felt.

In the words of Freddie Mercury, this practice, is ‘a kind of magic!’

We all do it, geting lost in our heads, and any good teacher or guide will admit that they too get lost sometimes. It’s the nature of the human mind.

And it’s why the practice of coming back in to the body is called a ‘practice’.

It’s something that needs to be lovingly repeated. Again and again and again.

I realise that the New Year often brings with it a sense of new changes, or of making resolutions. Whether I do or do not agree with the makings of resolutions (in truth, I think it’s a little more complicated than just setting goals), there’s no use in denying that, for many, now is the time to try something different.

So, in the spirit of sharing what works and hoping to unite and invite the world, in these times of division, to try and heal and to do something that can create more freedom for all – here it is, my round-up of what is worth taking a look at.

A beginners toolbox of sorts.

And indeed also a refresher for the most seasoned yogi.

Enjoy.

• My favourite ‘guru’ who offers so much wisdom and guidance has to be Ram Dass.

• My favourite app that is packed with guided meditations is Insight Timer.

• My absolute go-to for a Buddhist interpretation of stillness and compassion is Tara Brach.

• The most accessible and approachable yoga class in the world has to be YouTube’s Yoga with Adriene.

To end, I’d like to reflect on some words told today by one of my in-real-life yoga teachers Leanne: “Magic is a shift in perception,” a term coined by Jivamukti Yoga’s Sharon Gannon.

As part of Leanne’s rather epic NYE class, these were the words that I took away with me.

Having been sitting with them since this morning, and applying them to the year ahead, and indeed the year that has passed, they’ve made me think about how we usually see magic as being just the good things.

When magic can be the bad, too.

I know, for myself at least, that the challenging times have often provided a sense of magic when they’ve been overcome.

Like when I look back and remember how I felt so lost. And when I feel the magic that is the sense of freedom that my practice reveals.

So, in that sense, I’d like to wish a magical New Year to all.

X

And just like that, as I sat writing, my pre-schooler daughter handed me this… magic!

Which is funny on so many levels. And even more so when I remember the theme of the book that I am currently reading…

Magic!

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