Astanga Yoga London

Online conference with Hamish Sunday 28th February 2021

Hamish will be holding an online conference this Sunday 28th February at 12.30pm UK time. Open to all. Free. Email Hamish for Zoom link and to ask any questions you’d like included in the conference.

18th Feb 2021
18th February 2021

Back in early December one of our students and a good friend lost their lovely 12 year old daughter. The road is always long. And they have only recently began to understand the cause of her death. They have asked me to put up a ‘just giving’ link for one of the charities that has supported them.

Death is never easy for those left. In Indian legends the world was a place originally where nothing died but then mother earth complained of the weight. I’m presuming not just physical weight. So Indra who was king of the Gods designated his brother Yama to take peoples lives. At first he refused but eventually took on the most responsible roll of any God. Never was ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ more true.

Yama went on to become the greatest yoga teacher, instructing Nachiketas, a young boy who had died, as we would say before his time. Without that teaching the parents of Nachiketas would never have been able to live with all their emotions. Understanding that those very emotions can lead to enlightenment. Yama never takes he is given. And that is humanities lesson. To give and not take.



11th Feb 2021
11th February 2021

When it’s cold we have a tendency to snuggle up and stay in bed, especially on a moon day.  And why not. When it’s cold outside and maybe cold inside there are a few things to keep in  mind regarding practice.

Practice briskly, deepen your breath so there is a little more sound and get that mula bandha on strongly. I’ve practiced in places where I started with a hat and fleece and several layers on and end up with just shorts on. The body is amazing at creating heat and loosing it without insulation on a cold day. So layers are good. We should be very careful of our backs during cold times as the muscles contract to create more heat and we spend more time snuggling up in bed. It’s quite easy to cause and injury if your body is not adequately ready, warmed up. And although a heat source or warm clothing helps moving is what actually warms you up from inside.

During this pandemic several unfortunate things have happened to us which we need to be more aware of and try to stem. They are feeling pretty exhausted by even the word pandemic etc, so try and have some conversations of a different nature. We can feel quite cynical and about it all. My personal remedy is to look for beauty, it can be found in the strangest of places. We also may feel quite trapped and not really getting anywhere. Every day can bring small successes. We do well with repetition but we also need a tiny bit of novelty added to the mix.

And if you are going out, don’t tighten your laces of your boots to tight, loose is better, your feet will be warmer.

1st Feb
01st February 2021

Since we’re spending a lot of time at home, trying to get off the screen is a little difficult. So bellow are a few books that are vaguely yoga related.

Yogavataranam by Zoe Slatoff, if you want to learn Sanskrit this is a great book as it uses quotes from the Gita and Sutras.

Gentling the bull by Myokyo Ni this really odd book is about using your emotions to reach enlightenment. Not something you normally read and happily written by a someone who knows what their talking about.

Healing back pain by John Sarno, Anna rates this highly, she went through a fair amount of pain, as we al do.

A history of Ideas by Peter Watson, a big book full of where ideas all started, awesome.

Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, its been around for ages and still hits the button

Pebble for your pocket by Thich Nhat Hanh, of the many books he’s written I like this for it’s simplicity

The difficulty of being good by Gurcharan Das, its a look at the ethics of the Mahabharata and in particular Yudhstira’s many dilemmas on which path to take.

Garland of forest flowers by Swami Nimalananda, a long time swami who did live on top of a mountain and said few words, mostly just fed people and smiled a lot

The Inner tradition of yoga by Michael Stone, a well written book by someone sadly missed.

Yoga tradition by Georg Feuerstein, a classic big book that covers pretty much all yoga theory.

Heart of Yoga by Desikachar, many books have come from Krishnamacharaya’s son but this was one of the first that hit the west and contains an interesting translation of the yoga sutras.

Indian Philosophy, a very short introduction, oxford press, there is a huge range of titles in the series but this one does what it says on the cover.

Yoga sutras, J H M Whiteman, a very different translation of the yoga sutras.

Ramayana and Mahabharata I like either Pattanaik or Krishna Das