Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Carriers of the Knowledge of the Earth.

Each and every living being and living entity has its place in the cosmos and a profound right to live its life to its natural end.
Living in Africa I have the great privileged to spend time with, observe and learn from amazing creatures, from herds of elephants to the lone dung beetle pushing his prize of a fresh ball of dung along a beetle size pathway.   Every creature has its place and are of equal importance from the mighty lion to the tiny mosquito.  Every creature has an ingrained memory within and purpose of protection of some part of life.  I was inspired to read and it makes sense, that elephants were sent to earth as cosmic guardians of the plants and herbs and all knowledge of them, this is written in the Vedas.  If you watch an elephant feed it really picks and chooses with great grace with the use of its trunk from all that nature provides around it.  Knowing exactly what to take, what it needs at times of sickness, which herbs, which part of the tree, which grasses and fruits are necessary for health on a day to day basis.  If the elephants loose this knowledge of plants, herbs, seeds, nuts, fruits and minerals, then it will in turn be lost to all of us. 
Natural extinction happens when the universe no longer requires the memory or protection of that certain species, it has evolved and moved on or manifested.  I wonder why humans are still in existence when we carry out so many atrocities to the magnificent creatures that protect the very world that provides for us.  Elephants throughout the world are being treated appallingly, being deprived of their habitats, murdered for their ivory, used to perform heavy unrelenting work and used to carry tourists and perform humiliating tricks.   
For the last two years or so I have been suffering with allergies, and it has taken me this long to discover the unsightly blisters I get on my face aren’t some sort of mid-life acne but allergic reactions.  Now I am discovering I react to all sorts, from chickpeas, honey, dates and the list goes on.  Is one reason because the elephants are dazed and are starting to lose their memory patterns, which has a big impact on the memory of the whole cosmos?  An interesting thought.
These wonderful amazing creatures are the guardians of our very nourishment – shouldn’t we be the guardians of them?
Let us protect each and every creature; honor them as they honor the earth.  And I am truly thankful to see them, watch them and love them.
Be simple, be kind and have beautiful days.
OM Namah Sivaya
Mangala / Nicky.

Inspiration for this article came from the book ‘Living Ahimsa Diet.’ By Maya Tiwari.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Power of the Sacred Mantras

A mantra is a sound, a word or a verse, or in essence is a mystical energy that resonates as sound.  The meaning of Mantra – Man coming from the Sanskrit manas meaning mind and Tra meaning to free, by using mantra and concentrating on the mantra we can free our minds from all the confusions and wrong ways of thinking, our problems that we seem to create can disappear into love and true happiness which brings calmness and a magical sense of being at peace.    The benefits of repeating a mantra either silently in the mind or out loud are huge, its energy can take form and manifest by opening the heart, filling the mind with purity and generating harmony and divine love. 
Mediation on mantras bring relief from the hustle and bustle of the mind and give us the space, energy and power to find clarity.  They inspire us at times when we need support and bring courage to those who seek to move forward in a positive direction. 
Light beautiful divine light is there within the mantra and is available to all who seek it, all we have to do so to speak is plug ourselves into the current and let it flow through us to infinite possibilities. 
I have found a great refuge in the Mantra OM.  When I have been confused, overwhelmed, unwell or sad, by sitting with a straight spine in a comfortable pose, bringing the awareness to the breath and then mentally repeating OM in time with my breathing with closed eyes, I have found great strength.   Even a few moments for busy people is incredibly beneficial.
When I have been in a difficult situation or seen somebody struggling badly I have also used this mantra to send this beautiful healing energy to that place or that person to offer support from this universal energy, if done with the right feeling and intention the results can be amazingly strong. 
When I have pain in my knee from a torn meniscus I chant OM into it and it is like sending soothing water into the joint. 
There are hundreds and thousands of mantras, each as important and as powerful as the next, but I guess OM may be the easiest for all of us to connect to without having to remember complicated Sanskrit or get the sound vibration completely correct.
Each morning and each evening chant OM, chant Om into your body, chant Om into your energies, chant OM into your mind, chant Om into your heart, chant OM into the world.  Chant OM for our own selves, chant OM for all living entities, chant Om for Mother Earth.  Take the vow of Ahimsa, that of non-violence by chanting either silently or out loud – OM for the protection of the sacred heart of love, compassion and peace.
The vibrations that are produced through the repetition of mantra will strengthen the memory of your true nature and as a result your vulnerabilities either physical, emotional, or mental or all will dissolve.  In the Upanishads it is stated that meditation reveals the mind, so chant Om repeatedly and allow the mind to pause and rest in its own self.
Let us make peace peace perfect peace.
Have beautiful days and enjoy the power of OM.

Mangala / Nicky

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We see the world through our own mind.

If we look at the world through coloured glasses we see the world in that colour.  If we are peaceful, we see the world peacefully, if we are confused, we see the world in a confused way, if we are angry, we see the world as a violent place.  Ten different people will see the world in ten different ways.  We see the world through our own mind, it is a reflection of how we are feeling and thinking.  When we go into deep sleep, there is no mind so there is no world.  So how do we become happy to see the world as a happy and amazing place to be?  Well we don’t need to become happy because happiness is in essence our true nature; it is what we essentially are.  But our mind is full of thoughts, about 10 per second and this is what can keep us confused or deluded.  Becoming focused reduces the number of thoughts we have, practicing various yogic practices can reduce the thought waves and bring us to a state of joy, where peace can then be found.  If you are more active and find it hard to sit still, Surya Namaskar; the sun salutations are a wonderful way to bring yourself into a more focused state.  If you are the other way then sit for meditation and the thoughts over time and practice will become less.  Thoughts are like mental clouds; allow the practice to blow the clouds away.  Why are we happier when we are more focused, because the inner consciousness reflects better. 
Be happy in your given situation, see your blessings, find the concentration over time and gradually by focusing the mind it will become transparent to the inner light.

OM Lokha Somastha Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find harmony, balance and peace.
Beautiful days
Mangala / NIcky

Image taken in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Are we the right way up or upside down?

Shirshasan is one of my favorite postures, although at the beginning it can be daunting the thought of turning ourselves up the other way, but ironically it can be the very act of doing that which actually puts us back the right way up when things are confused, troubled and painful and everything feels like it is upside down when we are standing on our feet. 
The process of healing from any situation is an organic one that comes from the higher intelligence that is within us.  Not from our minds but from a higher more conscious place that is within.  Recently I have come to the realization that I haven’t been honest with my own self.  Although in yoga we follow Satya, which is that of honesty, looking at oneself in truth is not easy.  Honoring our position our character and our qualities both positive and negative can be painful and not so pretty.  I am trying to climb down from my ego and the pedestal that I created; thinking that I was perfectly ok and able to help all those that surrounded me without effort, as I know myself and have dealt with myself.  In reality, I am small, self-conscious, sometimes terrified, and fighting an inner battle and am actually not the strongest person on the earth that I have been pretending to be!  I have made a million mistakes and am now trying to accept them, now I have to start looking after myself instead of avoiding myself.  Only then will it be possible to help others.  Yoga, my husband, mother earth and my family have brought me to a time to reveal honesty.  ‘Sometimes it is hard to be a brave animal when you are only very small.’  Said Piglet to Pooh, ‘It’s ok.’  Said Pooh, ‘ I will hold your hand.’
The headstand is really helping me at this point to soothe my system, calm and ground myself.  It soothes the emotional seat of the brain and that part of us that when we are sensitive really feels the ups and downs of life.  It is helping me to find the right way up!  I have always loved the moon from a little girl and headstand is a way to tune to that lunar side, cooling and nurturing, this is rest and repair.  With practice it really isn’t difficult, if you believe you can do it, then you can do it, and then the healing process can take place in its time, in its place without the mind trying to control everything, enabling us to pause.
In the Bhagavad Gita it is explained that Yoga is being able to be completely contented in any given situation, I can now admit freely that I am not there yet, and that is perfectly ok.
Wishing you all love and light and an open heart
OM shanti shanti shanti
Mangala / Nicky.

Please practice under the guidance of a suitable teacher

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I will always love you

Life sometimes feels like it is beating you up
but there is always the ground
there is always the earth 
if you put your ear to the breeze
there is bird song.
There are whispers
I will always love you
I am breathing with you
touch me and I will touch you.
Take my breath and I will take yours
we are together, we are bound with creation
a beautiful vibration of life force.
There is always the ground
There is always the ground.

"Our quality of life does not depend of economic growth.  We live well only when everything is green, there is enough fresh water and the air is pure."    Sadhguru.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Om Namah Sivaya

OM Namah Sivaya - I see the divine within you and honor the divine within you, that is the same as the divine within me, we are one, all life is one.  Wake up and feel your breath, honor each inhalation and each exhalation and start to become mindful of the very life that you are and all the life that you are part of, the dew on the morning grass, the ray of light through the clouds the songs of the birds.  Yoga is a means to bring that sense of greater awareness to feel that you are part of something bigger and know that something bigger is within you.  If we can become aware then we start to experience life on a larger dimension - why be limited?  Yoga is for you no matter who you are, yoga is your right, peace is your right, happiness is your right an abiding mind is your right.  Yoga can be many things from simply observing a tap drip and concentrating to following your breath, to yogic postures, to placing a flower in a special place, to listening to your heart, to singing with devotion, to giving selflessly.  Yoga is for you and yoga shows the way to contentment.  I am taking a 6 week break from teaching and withdrawing for a while into my own deeper practices, looking after myself and going walkabout! The last two years have been huge - teaching at Butabika hospital,  Kampala and introducing yoga as an integral part of healing and wellbeing within the hospital.  Taking two lovely souls James and Elizabeth through teacher training and sharing the journey.  They will be around to continue classes whilst I am out - please contact them to find out when they are teaching - James: and Elizabeth:  classes will continue at the hospital but kindly check with them their current schedule.  They now are both working hard to raise the funds to journey to India where Swami Govindananda will continue their teacher training on scholarship.  All our work at the hospital is voluntary so they are finding ways to raise money for their flights, visas etc.  We are asking for donations for a professional recording of a Yoga Nidra session by me.  Please do contact them for details, and selling beautiful mat bags made in gorgeous African colours.  Below for inspiration for anyone thinking of yoga and maybe even teacher training here is James Story - I have not edited it - they are his words.     OM Namah Sivaya - I bow to the divine that you are  and the divine that we all have the right to be. I will be back in Kampala by 20th August -
for now have beautiful days - shanti shanti shanti 
mangala / nicky

"Yoga is a practice of the mind, body and spirit. It is a practice that has the power to change, heal and transform us. I began yoga 2 years ago when I was already volunteering in Butabika mental hospital working with children. I faced a number of inner life-threatening issues like chest pain and cardiovascular blockage that caused me night sweats, breathing difficulty and lost hope toward retrieval of myself. 
I was later introduced to yoga at a perfect time and then all the pieces in my life began to fall in place. Basically, it was the perfect "yoga storm" in which I fell in love, so hard and so quickly with the practice of yoga. I was one of those persons that began yoga through a friend now co-teacher Elizabeth who introduced me to Nicky my ever best teacher who inspired me to endure for better, specifically by then I would be invited every Thursday afternoon in an international school a few meters away from my home, as well as a training course, she highly dedicated all her space and time for 200 hours Sivananda Teacher Training, for both Elizabeth and myself for purpose of teaching yoga for mental and physical benefits of the community around. That picked up momentum and we created Butabika Hospital Community Yoga for recovery. At least for my generation, meeting with a professional teacher who has been teaching yoga for a long time plays a huge role when it comes to things like self-esteem and self-efficacy. I want to express my life in a more positive manner and inspire others along the way, and I was led to deep realization roles as I had been contemplating to sit back as I felt I had really nothing special to offer to the mental patients but instead started to commit to my practice while offering this gift to those that would have it for change.
At first, it began as a way to boost my ego, an extravagant demonstration of pride and arrogance. However, as I began delving into books and other resources during my study, I soon learned that yoga is much more than the physical practice of asana (comfortable pose) as my teacher says, ‘That is only one limb of yoga.’ I started to connect asana with the breath, or pranayama, and my practice drastically changed, especially after going to my first yoga class. It then led to making changes in my own life. I allowed yoga to change me from within in order to shape, mold, and create my life into a more accurate depiction of the true me. People began witnessing a new me and asked why I was a happier, more grateful, and a more open person. Naturally, I share my yoga journey with them. I encourage them to at least give thought into doing yoga, not only the physical practice but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual practice of it as well. In Sanskrit, yoga literally means "to join, “to Yolk” or “to unite." That's what yoga has done and continues to do for me: to unite all parts of my being in the formation of the real me, a "me" I genuinely love, a "me" I can express freely, a "me" I can use to connect with others and share light and truth and pure joy, a "me" I can utilize to inspire others, a "me" that works towards unity in our world. I now have a great yogic aim.
Therefore, I am working hard to raise funds for the upcoming Sivananda 200 Hour Teacher Training Course (T.T.C) in September, under the guidance of Swami Govindananda director of The Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham School in India, for classical Hatha teachings that provide the opportunity to study yoga anatomy, nutrition, yoga philosophy and teaching methodology. It addresses all the topics that I need to work with people of various shapes and ailments and hence start their journey of healing. It will help me teach with more impact, and a balanced and sustainable way.  Raising funds of this magnitude for the trip is a challenge- which I embrace wholeheartedly but with which I could use a little assistance."    James Akol