Terms and Conditions May Apply

Watched the documentary ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply’ with my son the other day. In a sense, it says nothing any sensible person isn’t already aware of: the internet giants sell information on all of us, and profit from our need to feel connected. However, seeing the film/documentary makes you suddenly sit up and wonder why you are allowing yourself to be manipulated in this way, if it is not absolutely necessary. I’ve closed down my FB page in the past (I have a very old one that I thought I’d closed down and that lurks like Banquo’s ghost, now inaccessible to me, reminding me of events that happened ten years ago or more). However, I’ve always thought that the benefits – given that I live a long way from any of the people I grew up with, and from members of my family, and given that I’m self-employed and need to let people know about my business, and for a myriad host of other reasons to do with idle curiosity, a sense of feeling as though I belong, the slightly anxious feeling that I’m not quite as good as others (doesn’t Fakebook do that? To a large degree?) and wanting to know what people are up to, and what events might be going on in the area – outweigh the harms. Now I’m not so sure. I’m going to see if I can reclaim, not my privacy, but my capacity to bring more attention to the kind of persona I present on the vast, shallow surface that reflects and shapes us in the virtual world. I’ve always been fairly conscious of the disconnect between the myths we create to project an image and the realities that are far less fluid, more full of contradiction and complexity, not to mention flesh and blood and breath, than those images can ever capture. So if you’re looking for updates on Yoga classes, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be updating this more regularly. I’ll also be updating my other blog which relates to my PhD research. I have a viva in a couple of weeks so I’m rather focused on that for now but when that’s done, and I’ve corrected what needs to be corrected, I’ll be putting sections of my thesis online. I may edit bits and put them here too.

Take care, dear people. Pay attention to what is going on.

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Tough Mudder, Yoga and Zazen

DSCF2909Your #toughmudder Yoga teacher is back and ready to take you through the basics of Yoga asana, pranayama and relaxation, and also the results of my research into compassion, humility and forgiveness. Yoga is not easy, and practicing this way is not weak. It teaches you to become assertive without anger or bitterness, and to enrich your understanding of all your relationships. Are you up for the challenge? Yoga and zazen. Practicing the way of living in the imperfect, dynamic, beautiful, painful here and now. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.

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Yoga registration eve – reminder

Yoga registration evening 1st September in IWA Belmullet 7.30-8.30. For full timetable see earlier post or pick up a timetable on the night but in essence, 20 euro deposit secures a place. Through the practice of physical, emotional and breath awareness and regulation, we begin to experience a radical acceptance of everything and this, paradoxically, is what transforms. Tues class is in  Áras Inis Gluaire , all others in the Irish Wheelchair Association Belmullet. Mon: beginners 7.30-8.45, Tues full Hatha 7.30-8.45, Thurs vinyasa 7.15-8.15, Thurs pranayama and nidra 8.25-9.15, Fri deep stretching 7.30-8.45. Please book. Please bring a mat. Looking forward to some post Tough Mudder teaching! 

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Timetable for Autumn Yoga in Erris

Timetable for Yoga with Lucy

There will be a registration day on 1st Sept in the IWA between 7.30 and 8.30pm in Belmullet or you can book by phone, text or email. Looking forward to deepening the practice with you!

 

 

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A short yoga nidra practice

I was asked to share a record of some sections of the workshop I gave on Tuesday. This is a first attempt. The equipment I have is basic so there is a background ‘hum’. No harm. Let me know if you have specific comments or observations. 

 

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Reminder: Yoga workshops in beautiful Erris over the summer…

Reminder! Amended dates for Yoga workshops in Beautiful Erris
Starting tomorrow…

1. Relax and breathe: Tues 22nd July, Tues 5th Aug 7-9 pm.

2. Inversions, rotations, arm balances (good level of fitness required), Thurs 24th July, Thurs 7th Aug 7-9 pm.

3. Yoga for deep stretching: Sat 26th July, Sat 9th Aug 10-12 noon.

4. Introduction to Yoga Tues 29th July, Tues 19th Aug 7-9 pm.

5. A full Hatha Yoga practice Thurs 31st July, Thurs 21st Aug 7-9 pm.

6. Post natal Yoga Sat 2nd Aug, Sat 23rd Aug 10-12 noon.

Please bring a Yoga mat except for workshop 1

Cost: 20 euro per workshop or any three for 50 euro. Book now!
0861286449 or 09781205 or looseyoga@gmail.com2014-07-11 11.48.40

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Yoga Workshops in Erris

Twelve workshops in total on six themes, each offered twice

One to one Yoga instruction also available – 45 euro per hour – get in touch if you are in the area!

 

Relax and breathe: Tues 22nd July and Tues 5th Aug 7-9pm (suitable for wheelchair users)

Invert, rotate and balance: Thurs 24th July and Thurs 7th Aug 7-9pm (experienced only)

Yoga for deep stretching: Sat 26th July and Sat 9th Aug 10-12 noon (suitable for all)

Introduction to Yoga: Tues 29th July and Tues 19th Aug 7-9pm (suitable for beginners)

A full Hatha Yoga practice: Thurs 31st July and Thurs 21st Aug 7-9pm (some experience needed)

Post natal Yoga: Sat 2nd Aug and Sat 23rd Aug 10-12 noon (new Mums after 8 weeks!)

 

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2014-05-03-17-03-55.jpg

Bodhi is not a tree
the clear mirror has no stand
from the beginning there is not a single thing
in what place can there be dust?

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What this site’s about

I teach Yoga in Erris, Co Mayo. I’ve been teaching Yoga for a long time now and I hope I’m getting better at it.

If you just want to stretch, strengthen and relax, you’re welcome to come along. I want to deepen your experience but I’m never going to judge you. If you want to know more, read on.

A lot of what I teach relates to my attempts to understand how to live, through philosophical investigation and practice. I’m finishing off a PhD in Philosophy and this heavily influences how I think and what I say. Above all, I seek to elicit compassion and humility so we can be kinder in our dealings with one another and more considerate in how we relate to the world.

We are living in an increasing emergency, ecologically, and this affects everything. None of us knows how fast this emergency will unfold: the future is hard to predict! But there are various things we can do to mitigate its impact: exercise compassion and humility in our dealings with one another, take as much responsibility as possible for our own health and well-being, adapt our lives to recognise the kind of limits that exist in the world, and reduce the suffering of ourselves and others by noticing, defending ourselves against, and watching the burning out of the violence and aggression we are enmeshed in.

It’s never perfect but if you’re prepared to make the effort, an integrated life is beyond riches.

For current times and types of class, please contact me. This is how April/May is looking:

Mon 21 April – new Hatha Yoga class (tbc)

Tues 22 April – new Beginner’s Hatha Yoga class 8-9pm six weeks

Tues day class 11-12noon ongoing

Wed 23 April – Hatha Yoga with emphasis on the Tha (or Yin) – holding poses longer, slower stretches, warmer room 8-9pm four weeks left

Thurs 24 April – Hatha Yoga with emphasis on the Ha (or Yang) – vinyasa flow class – stronger, faster sequences 8-9pm four weeks left

All courses 45 euro for six weeks; 10 euro drop in (but please text or email to book a space first – classes can get overfull otherwise!)

Mon and Tues classes suitable for all, Wed and Thurs need some experience

You need a Yoga mat: I have a couple of spares but if you need to borrow, please check that they’re available (and it’s healthier for you to have your own). You practice Yoga asanas in bare feet, wearing clothing you can stretch in. You might want to bring a rug for the relaxation section of the class.

Awaken stillness

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Workshops, CPD, pessimism

This is a kind of rant. A shout – a scream – for space for those who are marginalised by mainstream narratives. The context is that I’m feeling pretty pessimistic about Yoga at the moment. I mean, I still love practicing asanas and pranayama techniques are really useful, meditation is realisation in action, mindful movement gives me insights into my relationships within and beyond my skin, and Yoga Nidra is a wonderous system of interconnections that allow things to reorganise and integrate. But the last three workshops I have attended have been real eye openers, and not in a way that benefits tolerance and compassion: it’s all been a bit judgmental, a bit holier than thou. It’s maddening and constricting and saps my energy so I thought I’d let it out, and then let it go.

I’m keen to recall the Buddhist aphorism, be fierce with yourself, be gentle with others, so with that in mind, I don’t think names are important, and I also don’t think naming styles is important. What I do think matters is that Yoga is taught, and workshops are conducted, with some key thoughts in mind.

My own take on Yoga is a bit weird, a bit non mainstream. I’m not a Buddhist. I’m not a Hindu. I’m not a socialist or a Marxist. Nor am I strictly vegetarian, organic wearing, or always calm. I’m working on compassion. I don’t go for the Atman bit: for me, there is no inner soul awaiting awakening, no inner beauty waiting to be revealed if we can only slip into the shapes shown to us by the old teachers. Nor is there any other state than the state we are in right now, so there’s no improvement, no getting better, no progress, no journey. There is just this, just as it is, right here, right now, with all the impermanence and imperfection that implies. We can add layers of judgement but it will be what it is, though we may find it harder to accept. We can add layers of compassion and that may make it easier to accept and so to shift in it, or see loopholes, or feedback into systems that are more flexible, more ready to change.

For me, there’s no mind separate from body, no soul separate from mind, no you, no me, nothing but the experience, and the experience will end. Humans are not at the top of any evolutionary tree. We just happen to be able to reflect, to be conscious, and this is what changes things, and it’s also what gives us responsibility, the ability to respond, although that ability is confined to the realm of realisation. It’s realisation, all the way down. For me, the reality is the perception of this impermanent, imperfectable moment by moment movement that is the soul, the body, the mind, and all the other names we might decide to call it.

I realise that for many people this non dualistic approach to Yoga is heretical and does not sum up what for them are important feelings of being able to see Yoga as a path. However, when their statements of their ideologies alienates and oppresses mine, when their reiteration of their idea of a Divine light shining in all our hearts makes me feel vacuous, then I think they are less aware of the compassionate nature of the practice than they are pretending to be. It’s not as though I pull the wings off flies. But I want to be allowed to express and realise my own understanding during workshops, not feel like I’ve been swept out on their tide of self conviction.

You’re not right. I’m not wrong. What this perhaps might show me is that when I present my philosophy during Yoga classes, I must be careful not to bang on about non-dualism. I want people to be able to understand Yoga in their own terms, physiologically. I want it to shift narratives but not because I’m imposing my ideas on them; because they reach their own moment of self awareness. They deserve – I deserve – to be able to lie in Savasana without being told that this is a time to let my soul flower and become what it always has been – that’s your ideology, that’s your attempt to understand the wisdom that you have interpreted. It’s not mine. And you shut me out when you talk like that and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt.

Now, the other thing that really strikes me about going to Yoga workshops is the tension I feel when there’s a push to make a lot of money out of the process. Sure, I understand and appreciate making a living. I’m making a living too. But saying that there’s a finite number of places and then squeezing so many people into the room that you can’t actually find a space for everyone against the wall, or carry out the facilitator’s instructions because you’ll put your foot through a window – that’s not OK.

The only thing I can do is bring this back to my own classes. Limit numbers to a group I know I can fit into the space available and if it’s a very full class, make sure that the asana practice I choose is feasible.

And that brings me to the final thought for today. Why are so many very popular workshops still conducted by men and attended by women, almost exclusively? This is a really uncomfortable power dynamic and I think we need to question it. Or maybe I need to question it because everyone else is OK with it. I’m going to make a concerted effort to attend workshops run by women, or attended by a mix of men and women, in the future.

I’m fine with women wearing make up – I do it myself sometimes! I’m fine with vanity – I’m as vain as the next person – and I’m certainly fine with feeling sexy under the right conditions. But a Yoga workshop is for developing your practice, not for flirting with the instructor, or for the instructor to play with boundaries around what’s OK to touch and what is not.

So, for the record, I’m going to see if I can shift my relationship with my CDP for a while. I won’t be travelling great distances any more – west of the country only, from now on; teachers will be female, or I’ll make sure the group’s mixed so we don’t have that patriarchical dynamic that is just retrograde, and, get this, sometimes I might even just train myself, go down to the hut for half a day and (so long as I reciprocate and take over from him in equal measure) with the support of my husband, spend time retreating at home. Of course I believe I can learn a lot from other people. But I’ve got a few unexplored resources of my own and when other people impose their views from the top of the room, I’m inclined to think I’ll be more enlightened by spending time learning from my own experiences than trying to dodge the ideological bullets hammering at me from over there.

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