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


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Yogic Postures to relieve a heartache.

Somebody recently wrote to me asking for a sequence that helps in times of emotional distress.  Well in response to that I would encourage the whole of the Sivananda system of yoga will help to regain a sense of balance and contentment, not only practicing the asana and pranayama’s but especially bhakti yoga, devotional practices, chanting can especially help to ease a hardened or painful heart and uplift the whole self.  But a good sequence of heart opening asana also will bring a great sense of relief if practice frequently and with the right intention.  Dharana is that which flows, or otherwise concentration and in times of trauma or emotional stress the dharana will seem lost, maybe the thought of sitting still for meditation is daunting.  The mind will be flipping from this to that and a disturbed mind will also bring a disturbed body.  This sequence will help to re-establish the concentration and open into the heart space, feeling a greater sense of nurturing from the universal consciousness and space to feel compassion and contentment and again regain a sense of calmness.
1.    lie in Savasana – tense and release each body part to bring instant relaxation.  Start at the feet and work up through the body.
2.    Sit in easy cross legged pose and chant AUM or make your own prayer.
3.    Begin with gentle tension releasers for the neck dropping the right ear toward the right shoulder and breathe there, then change to the otherside.  Then drop the chin down to the chest and as you inhale raise the chin up to the sky.  Repeat this several times.
4.    Stand up for ardha chakrasana, as in the image above, hold for a few breath and repeat 3 times.
1.    Practice surya namaskar the sun salutations up to 6 rounds.
Setubandasana – bridge pose, practice holding for some time or 3 shorter rounds
1.    Chakrasana – the wheel pose, only attempt this if you are a more advanced practitioner.
1.    Matsyasana – the fish pose, try to hold for a minute and breath directly into the heart space.
1.    Rest again in savasana.
Dharnuasana – the bow pose, find the mid belly and rest there for as long as is comfortable and slowly increase the time. Do not practice if you are pregnant or have any sever back issues.
1.    Ustrasana – the camel pose, again breath into the heart space here.  You can lighten this pose by keeping your hands supporting your lower back, fingers to the hips thumbs touching each other.
1.    Shashankasan – childs pose.  Hold for as long as feels good to you and listen to the sound of your breath. Take your knees out wide and arms stretched out front if you are pregnant.
1.    Anahatasana- Melt your heart to the earth and release tension in the mid back, hold for as long as comfortable and follow your breath.
1.    Natarajasana – Dancing lord Siva, making sure you focus on a focal point and practice on both legs.
Ardha Chakrasana practice 3 times.
1.    Savasana for final relaxation and consciously relax each body part from the toes all the way through the body to the crown of the head. At least 10 minutes
2.    Sit in cross legged pose and chant AUM or your own prayer.

Always seek the guidance of a suitably qualified teacher.

AUM Lokha Somasta Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings find harmony and balance

Let us all be well and happy and peaceful
Love from the heart
Mangala / Nicky

Please do contact me at if you would like a word document of this sequence with images of all the postures mentioned. OM shanti OM.