The first time I encountered “yoga” was in the late 1950s and who the eck had ever heard of such a thing back then? Well, not me!
We were very much a working class environment and not too well off for anything: nobody had cars, phones or tellies, or even fitted carpets.
Women did the housework and chores, men went out to work and had allotments and went to the pub. Kids did kid things and got shunted off to Sunday School every week and apart from their grannies, generally kept away from adults.
My available information was a poor filter to the post war world: mainly kiddie comics, knitting and cookery oriented womens’ mags, encyclopedia showing artist impressions of primordial swamps, African tribes’ peoples in ancient hutments, and some info about a tribe in New Guinea who carted dead elders around strapped to their backs until the deceased rotted away, (the stuff one remembers!); also, we listened’ to sanitized music and radio plays, (I mean!!! Max Bygraves for goodness sake and a few American crooners like Perry Como, Journey into Space”, and Billy Cotton Band Show). To say the world had just emerged from a major debacle a few years before, things were parochial.
My first brush with “yoga” was quite a shock to my sheltered and limited knowledge base. I had a newly acquired bezzie mate and we went back to her house, and behold, when we went into the front room, there was Pauline’s dad standing on his head in the middle of it!
I couldn’t wait to tell somebody about this stunning sight. “I’ve seen Pauline’s dad doing yoga,” I said to my own dad.
“The daft article,” replied my dad, (never one to be encouraging), “the man’s flaming crackers. He’s a bus conductor for Pete’s sake”.
Well, dad must have actually heard of yoga (?), but it wasn’t normal and I didn’t ever imagine myself doing it as I was the world’s most hopeless gymnast; any physical jerks being beyond my competence or desire.
However, many years later:
I went to a yoga class and stuck with it, although it wasn’t really yoga, just some asanas. I kept wondering what this, ‘yoke with the Divine’ I’d read about could possibly be. I thought maybe I would cotton on to it with experience, but nothing about what we were doing seemed in the least bit Divine and none of the ladies in the class seemed high on any sort of bliss either.
One day we had a stand-in teacher who suggested we did an om shanti chant before we began. The ladies said they wouldn’t do it: they were most put out. The woman next to me said she’d never be able to show her face again if anyone heard us! So, no wonder I was waiting in vain for the penny to drop. This radical realisation that another ‘world’ of yoga existed was so liberating and I eventually, and quite by chance (or was it?) found a Kundalini teacher.
As soon as I walked into that class and we tuned in with, “ong namo, guru dev namo” that was ‘it’.
If dad were still alive he’d now think me a daft article and obviously crackers.
Oh well, I suppose I did choose him after all!!
My husband built a bridge – he’s really good at that kind of thing… It’s a beautiful bridge, sturdy and strong, and just wide enough for me to perch on and bask in the midday sun on the days when I’m lucky enough to have a little bit of time for afternoon reflection… And this Monday – far from Blue – was bright and sunny, with a lovely cool breeze.
My morning walk had taken me past this lovely bridge, along the side of the cheerfully babbling beck, along a muddy path, over slippy-shiny stones, to my favourite place… Our wood, cool and green and lush, with white buds of wild garlic, yellow buttercups and purple – yes purple (!) bluebells all starting to emerge from their winter slumber.
I returned this day to my favourite Sadhana – one which I will never teach (but if you’re curious do yourself a favour and join Siri Arti for Starchild teacher training!) followed by Kirtan Kriya, because it just feels right, all sitting on a not quite as perfect or comfortable or straight bridge, but secluded and private… and when I emerged from the depths of the song still vibrating in my heart found I was being watched! And who was this snooper intruding on my sacred space? Only the most beautiful, gentle deer… Not snooping at all, but curious, watchful, and for a moment, however brief… Part of me, and I of her…
Within this sense of one-ness came awareness… One that spills from my heart and lips so frequently now that I know those closest to me are getting a little bit bored of hearing it! But an awareness of gratefulness, of receiving the blessings of the Universe willingly with an open heart and it becomes so strong that I really can’t contain it, and I suppose a big part of this for me, comes from Ikigai… Where what I love, meets what I’m good at, and that meets what the world needs, and that can become my profession… My reason for being right here, right now.
It’s taken 34 years, some painful experiences… So much fear… So much loss… So much running… So much searching…
Yet, when I listen to the whispers of my heart, and with the support of the aforementioned beloved husband and builder of bridges over streams (and chasms of heartache), and I choose the path less travelled… Often through darkness, sometimes tricky to navigate, sometimes a right pain the… Well, you know… When I surrender to the Universal call to oneness, and to being a lighthouse… Well, life becomes a song… Pain doesn’t disappear, sometimes worry shows her weary head and occasionally fear takes hold of my heart and I need to be very firm with myself to not allow it to squeeze so tight I forget to breathe.
But I believe I’ve found my reason for being, not only as an experience maker as wife, mother, woman… but a trailblazer, a dream maker, a hope grower… a teacher… a lighthouse. And a teacher of children. It’s such a privilege for me to work with so many bright, radiant young people… Share some tools for life (communication, calmness, connectedness, growth-mind set) to name but a few… and learn from THEM… Learning to remember to listen, to be truthful, to be kind, to keep an open heart and mind… Remember to have FUN! Remember to Laugh! Remember to try! Remember to trust… And remember to be as kind to the child within me, as I am to the children around me. Sat Nam x