Thursday, April 28, 2016

Yoga is Transformation.

Every day we witness transformation around us as night becomes day and day becomes once again night, I love those times of transition when things are soft and the light is quiet, the noises change around us depending on where we are living and even the smells as you may catch the waft of coffee in the morning or an evening meal being prepared.  Now as I sit in my garden in Kampala, Uganda I love to watch those transitions and listen to the insects begin to chirp or the bird calls in the morning, and see the sky create a beautiful dance of shapes, colour and light.  It brings a sense of real peace to me.  Yoga has brought me that transition too, as I think back to how I was before I found it, before I allowed it to gently and lovingly change me into a much softer and quieter, a stiller and happier being.  Give an angry man a yoga mat and show him the practice he becomes a gentle soul with open heart, give a fidgety man who can’t sit still a yoga mat and show him the practice he becomes at peace and finds stillness, give an anxious man a yoga mat and show him the practice he becomes strong and full of courage, give an unhealthy man a yoga mat and show him the practice he becomes healthy.  And so the list goes on.  I found this lovely story by John Mundahl and would love to share it –
The Man with the Funny Yoga Mat – by John Mundahl.
Once a man came to my yoga class.
The first day he walked up to me and said –
  “I need exercise.  Will I get that here?”
  “Yes.”  I said.  “Yoga can be exercise.”
He was blunt and direct and walked away.
I watched him spread out his yoga mat.
But I could see that the mat wouldn’t lie flat.
The edges were curled up.

The next week he came to me and said,
  “I’m sleeping better.  But I don’t want to give up ice-cream.”
  “That’s fine.”  I said.
He walked away and
I watched him spread out his yoga mat.
The edges were still curled up.
But I could see that his mat was trying to lay flat.

The next week he came but he was quiet.
He only spoke to me after the class.
  “What is this anyway?”
  “What is what?”  I asked.
  “It’s what you want it to be.”  I said.
He was puzzled, but curious.
And I watched him walk out the door yoga mat under his arm.

The next week he came and said,
  “I’m loosing some of this!”
As he shook his belly and laughed for the first time.
He spread out his yoga mat
And I could see that the edges were starting to lay flat.

On the last day of class
He came up to me with a soft face.
  “There was a beautiful sunset last night, did you see it?”
  Yes, I saw it.”  I said.
Then he walked away to a quiet corner of the classroom,
And spread out his yoga mat.
And the edges were flat, his yoga mat lay flat.

I am forever grateful for yoga and all that it has brought to me, for all my guru’s whom have taught me and all the yogis I have shared the practice with. To finding the path and going along it with a happy heart.
AUM Namah Sivaya,
May we all have happy hearts as we return to our natural selves.

Mangala / Nicky

Current Class times
Mondays- 8.30-10.00am Butabika Recovery College, for mental health patients, support workers, Dr’s and Nurses.
Tuesdays- 6.30-7.45pm Edge Fitness Center, Naguru, All Welcome
Wednesdays- Gems Cambridge International School Secondary Students
Thursdays-  Gems Cambridge International School Primary Students and 5.00-6.30pm All Welcome (above the sports complex)

Yoga Mangala has also began its first community yoga teacher-training program for local Ugandans, with two wonderful new students, Elizabeth and James, wishing them all the joy, light and peace on their journeys to become yoga instructors for the community.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

8 Ways in which we learn to achieve harmony.

Our tails fell away and we moved from monkey to man, at least in our physical sense, but what about the monkey mind? It is always restless and moving, jumping here and there and imitating that which we like or are tempted by.
So how do we evolve the mind as well as the body?  We learn in 8 different ways and if we can apply those 8 ways to our yoga practice the mind will slowly over time calm down and find contentment and peace. In writing it sounds easy, just do this and you will be happy and in reality it takes patience, dedication and time, but the traumas the mind can cause will become weaker and weaker and the emotions we strive for like happiness and joy will become greater.  Our unnecessary wanderings and wastefulness of energy will slow down and we can find stillness. 
If we look to nature and imitate the wisdom of the plants and trees our inner wisdom will increase.  Trees don’t become depressed because their leaves fall, flowers aren’t sad and discontented when they close.  They simply just are, not looking, not searching and not minding what happens.  A mountain is at peace whether it is covered in flowers or if it is covered in snow, it is unaffected.
With these 8 ways of learning there is scope to reach out to all beings, to find a way where we too can just be and find contentment and strength, not minding what happens, but just being.
Verbal Learning
The study of the scriptures, reading such illuminating texts as the Bhagavad Gita.  Listening to stories and teachings from inspired Gurus.  Communicating affirmations through speech.
Logical and Mathematical Learning
Working with various breathing techniques, the counting of the breath and looking at the mathematics behind yogic postures such as the alignment with stars etc.
Visual Learning
Using mandalas, yatras and uplifting images to lead us to focus the mind and lead us into meditation.
Body Intelligence
Working through yogic postures and proper relaxation.  Following a yogic diet – pure and natural and vegetarian.
Musical Intelligence
Chanting of mantras and the singing of Kirtan, nada yoga – listening to sattvic sounds to activate and stimulate and unblock our energy centers.
Interpersonal Intelligence
Communicating with others – Karma yoga working for others, partner yoga.
Intrapersonal Intelligence
Self-reflection, meditation practices, questioning who am I? And self-observation.
Naturalist Intelligence
Being in nature, getting out there and enjoying our beautiful planet.

Through these practices we can balance through our body, mind, emotions and energy forces within us and harmonize through them all.  Once they become in harmony with each other, then anything is possible.  Then make your choices of what you really want and don’t mind what happens!

“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants.  The question is what are we busy about?  Henry David Thoreaux.

Have beautiful days
AUM Shanti AUM
Mangala / Nicky.