Astanga Yoga London

Online conference with Hamish Sunday 27th September

Hamish will be holding an online conference this Sunday 27th September at 12.00pm (midday) UK time. Open to all. Free. Email Hamish for Zoom link and to ask any questions you’d like included in the conference.

1st of Sept 2020
01st September 2020

When I first moved down to London from Scotland, people asked if I’d be staying. Assuming that ‘why would I want to live in London when Scotland was so beautiful’. Well, I’m still here. Yes of course Scotland is beautiful but one can find beauty in the most unlikely of places. People also said I’d not manage more than three years of teaching Mysore mornings, I’d burn out,  well I’m still here. Which brings me onto Santosha, contentment.

Of course, we’d all love to be blissfully bouncing around in samadhi (that is if we didn’t know we’re already there, we just need to real eyes). But failing that contentment would be very nice indeed. But unhappiness knocks on all our doors in many ways.  In the failings of others, in the failing of ourselves.

Often we respond with anger, this may not manifest as shouting but as snide remarks or internal frustration. In our practice, we have the opportunity to make changes in the way we think. And to use that as a way to enhance our daily life. So an example might be you’re trying to get into marichasana d, which you know you can do but last nights pizza or some stress from work is making it more difficult. So now you feel anger. The anger is there because in the past you could do it and you’re focusing on the past. Being able to do marichasana d is not the point, the point is to be here and now, to be present while you’re doing whatever you are doing. Not thinking about how it was or what difficult asana is coming up soon. The ‘perfection’ of the asana is not the point. Be here now. And we certainly shouldn’t get caught up in other peoples practice!

Other people (usually people we love) annoy the fuck out of us. Whatever it is that has annoyed you there is a good way and a not so good way to respond. This leads me in a roundabout way to Krishna and Arjunas relationship. They’re known as best of friends. A man brought up as a cow heard and a man brought up a royal prince. An odd combination. Showing that we shouldn’t judge others for what they do or from where they have come from. Krishna becomes Arjunas teacher. But not until Arjuna asks. Krishna never forces his teachings. He always gives Arjuna autonomy saying he always has the choice. (Even though free will is pretty debatable). This is really an important part of teaching. Being self-sufficient on a spiritual path is something we all need to gain.

Krishna is always honest with Arjuna, he doesn’t beat around what he is trying to say in a very English sort of way. He is direct without being confrontational or unkind. Sometimes being honest is not always easy. You’d think it should be but it can present a problem when we fear we may hurt someone. Being honest while remaining kind is always difficult.

You can’t go over it you can go under it you can’t go around it, we have to go through it. We need empathy. Of course, we all think we are empathetic and usually, one person in a relationship is more empathetic than the other and it’s always you. When we are empathetic we understand not only why someone says or does something but their thinking/beliefs behind that. Being empathetic for some comes easy for some of us we have to work at it. Being empathetic gets damaged by trauma. Being empathetic is part of being human. When we are not we dehumanise. To increase our empathy the first step is to  look at our own feelings and beliefs when we practice. If we can first understand that we can then take that and let it change our daily life. By looking at our inner world we can see that others also have an inner world.

Being content in yoga is the first step. If we can find that even if we are having the shittest of shit days then we will start to find contentment in the most unlikely of places.