“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Friday, 18 August 2017

Yoga of Sleeping - Workshop

(Into the arms of Morpheus)

Sunday 27th August 2017

11 am - 5 pm

@"Trees" Bodhi Garden, near Uckfield, East Sussex


(optional overnight camping into Bank holiday Monday with early session)
2nd in a series of Sunday Sessions during the Summer of 2017

This day invites participants to slow down and listen deeply, feel the body and enter states of conscious sleeping through body awareness, sound and Yoga Nidra (sleep of the Yogis), into the sleep of night; the surrender to unconsciousness. Hosted and facilitated by Richard Harding (Richard Harding SatBodhi Yoga) and Jude Murray (Ceibhfhion) at Trees Bodhi Garden, near Uckfield, East Sussex.

Join us for a day (and night) of rest, relaxation and meditation and Yoga Nidra in the peaceful and natural surroundings of the Forest Garden. The day will leave you feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and nourished with tools for deeper relaxation and meditation. The day will also incorporate sound bathing with Himalayan singing bowls and other instruments of love. Body, sound, Yoga, sleep.

In ‘daily life’ we rush, organise, do everything as ‘conveniently’ as possible with scant regard to the rhythms of body and nature. We put shoes on, eat on the move, travel at speed. We neglect to appreciate that the illusion of time is running the show and that the present moment is squeezed by memory and projection; sometimes we live daily life as if sleeping and unaware of the ‘now’. Invite yourself to slow the pace; feel the body’s inner wisdom, listen deeply and rest the mind. Step in time with time and sleep in the cradle of presence.

In ‘sleep’ the brain-body is alive. Healing itself, growing, processing, and present only to itself. As consciousness changes and the body is given full reign to slow down and reconfigure. In this altered-state the brain processes the tangle of sensorial information, we learn, remember (reconstruct) and evolve. Allow us to guide you into ‘conscious sleep’, a state where you may access the flow state and the space of healing.

Yoga and movement practice and teaching is influenced by Scaravelli and the experience of a Butoh trained dancer and will be an invitation to go slow and deep with body awareness, breathing and postures. Some partner work is envisaged as well as personal investigation. There will be meditation accompanied by Himalayan singing bowls and native American flute. The afternoon will be devoted to sounding, chanting and Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is a practice which guides the participant on a journey through the body toward a place of conscious sleep using image and imagination. The language of the body is after all metaphor. In this state brain wave activity is shifted from beta or alpha (30Hz- 7.5Hz) to theta (7.5Hz-3.25Hz) and potentially delta waves (3.25z-0.5Hz). These frequencies represent the states of consciousness from wakefulness and the alert, focussed (at high-beta, stressed and in the fight, flight or freeze mode) mind to that of meditation, REM sleep, deep sleep; the the possibly of moving into delta wave activity which can facilitate the transcendental or healing experience. The state of alpha-theta (7.8 Hz) is a place called ‘flow’. This flow state is the experience of the ‘now’. It is also the pulse of nature and Earth herself; the Schumann Resonance. If we can access this state we are one, one with Earth and nature; the illusion of time falls away as the brain-body comes into presence. Creativity, spontaneity and the beauty of Being shines.


Please bring

• Your yoga mat (and any bolsters, blocks, blankets that you enjoy using)
• Comfortable clothing to practice in. Movement sessions will either be in the yoga studio or in nature (weather permitting), so you might want to dress in layers. A warm garment if you wish to sit for a while by the fire for music, chant and conversation
• Bring lunch to share. A healthy smoothie and tea/coffee/water are offered as refreshments.
•tent (small preferably unless multiple occupancy), bedding, torch etc for camping.

Location directions supplied on booking confirmation.

Contact directly through Messenger or via email at:
Richard Harding SatBodhi Yoga (Facebook)
Or email: satbodhiyoga@gmail.com

•Investment: £70 (limited to 10 participants). A sliding scale operates…don’t let finance hinder experience.

•A discretionary donation to cover cost of dinner and breakfast if camping into Monday.


Richard is a Yoga and Movement facilitator (RYT200, member of Yoga Alliance) and bodyworker standing for healing; an artist, musician and gardener. He is passionate about consciousness, the body, its anatomy and ecology. His journey traverses the arts and sciences and ranges from dance training and performance, BA Hons Fine Art Painting, to medicine working as a Paramedic Practitioner in the NHS, (BSc Healthcare practice- Paramedic Practitioner). In 2001, he lived and trained in with Min Tanaka (Butoh artist/farmer) at Bodyweather Farm, and DAnce Resources on Earth, Japan. He has also trained with other notable Butoh dance-artists. His Yoga, teaching and caring practices span 25 years The Yoga has been influenced by the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli. He has recently become interested in Yoga Nidra, a practice that addresses the practitioner directly, and with scientific evidence, to the neurophysiology of consciousness. Through these practices, we can access various altered-states recordable as ‘brain waves’ that can, in turn illuminate and invite space for healing.


Jude is a yoga teacher and therapist, healer, body worker and Anam Cara, with some twenty five years’ experience as a teacher, trainer, group facilitator and celebrant. Jude's heart offering is Celtic Yoga a seasonally aligned practice informed by her personal practice of Celtic Druidry. She also specialises in Yoga for Cancer, integrative care and palliative care, and has been course director on Healing Space – Yoga for People Living with Cancer - since 2011. She is an IYN Yoga elder, Yoga Alliance Professionals Senior Teacher, a senior teacher of Embodied Yoga Principles and Anatomy and Physiology teacher on Shanticentre’s Yoga & Spiritual Development Teacher Training Programme. She is a Scot based in Brighton and teaches here, across the UK, and internationally.


'Trees' Bodhi Garden is a long-term project encompassing agroforestry (Forest Gardening), creativity and sustainable options for living, growing and cultivating. The vision evolves and grows in its fundamental desire to provide a discreet space for healing, retreat and community. The time has come to start a process of planning and organizing to see where the next step can take us. As such, the proceeds from any activities and events will go directly to the fund to let the vision evolve and grow.
The yoga studio is 90 square meters of spruce ply inside a poly-tunnel. Temperature fluctuations are a natural response to the structure’s design and, as such, provide an environment more in tune with the nature outside.
I am always happy to show visitors around and talk about forest, nature, holistic gardening, and the ecology of being.

SPACE FOR HEALING

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Compassion and Righteousness

I am scared.

It  has - unusually  - taken me a while to really notice and feel into  this. It is my body's familiar and oh so deeply patterned response to... well... just to the world.

But decades of somatic learning, embodied practice, therapy, medication and many dark nights of the soul have allowed me to notice and understand and self regulate to the extent that I am seen, by myself and others as a calm voice of reason, a mediator, a measured awareness amidst reactions. I have no idea how I got here, but the cap seems to  fit, and I wear it with grace (mostly) I am flawed, I am weird, but I seem to do this well. 

I have stepped into that role of late, as I see hate played out around me. The visceral reactions of those who feel the fear and trauma of the death throes of an old paradigm, indeed multiple layered paradigms of victimhood and oppression, of prejudice, injustice, mistrust and plain old hate. We are all feeling it. It is being played out  on the world stage and in the echo-chambered bear pits of social media. The language of hate abounds. The perpetrators don't even know that is what they are extolling because our own personal brand of hatred is always more justified than the enemy's.  Always. Righteousness is blind to the realities of others. Sometimes to Reality itself. 

And nothing hurts more than the truth.

Simultaneously we see the rise of the voices of alt:right, MRA and SJW. Conveniently labelled and acronymed metaphors for  those who are desperately clinging to their trusted ways of seeing the world, themselves and their relationships. Even if the trusted ways are deep with pain and mistrust, they are known. And letting go is hard. These are the voices of pain and trauma.  Centuries of oppression and suppression have lain deep grooves of woundedness in the collective consciousness. And there doesn't seem to be much space in there right now for love. 

And yet, naive as it may sound, love is what is required. Notice how I feel I have to justify my use of the word?

Yes. Love.

Love enough to listen. Love enough to see beyond the voice an into the humanity of the person behind it. The voices silently but loudly screaming:

"I am scared" 
"I am scared of you" 
"I don't want to be a victim any more"
"I don't know how not to be a victim"
"I am angry"
"I don't know how not to be angry"
"I don't want to lose my power."
"I don't want to be at war."
"War is all I know"


As I write, I feel the fear rising because I know to speak to this, to put this out into the public domain may well court some of the viciousness I have witnessed. I have already been considered naive, I have be told that if I was more  educated, I would understand. (on this note, it is always worth checking out the background of the person you are arguing with!)  I have been told to read some books (!!!) I have been accused of sleeping with the enemy. I am not a good enough feminist because I actively listen to the wounded  and angry voices of men. I am a Feminazi because I speak out about the ongoing oppression of women. I am not a good enough socialist because I am prepared to have conversations with conservatives. I am dismissed as a leftie because I am vocal about social justice.  

I have been called ugly and stupid. I have been labelled as a victim. I have had others step into defend me when it wasn't asked for, and I have had others abandon me when I called for back up. Rape threats are omnipresent for women who say intelligent things on the internet: only yesterday I was told I obviously wasn't getting enough cock. Because I had an opinion. (This person REALLY doesn't know me - lol ) But still I could see into the sadness of the man who said it. He was angry and mourning the perceived loss of his power. It is hard. I know. It is hard. For all of us. 

 I have - thankfully - never received a death threat.  I am way too love and light and clearly not dangerous enough for that. But you never know. In this current hyped climate of scared and angry voices it seems enough just to think a thing for someone to want to bring you to justice. I have just witnessed the attempted public take-down of a friend for simply voicing thoughts. Yes, they were difficult-to-hear, angry thoughts but just thoughts. Thoughts brought into the public domain willingly to court a reaction, but also to seek opinions, and most importantly, to engage with other thoughts. He may be controversial and at times, maybe he can be a bit of an arse, but he will always listen. 

And I feel the fear now of saying things.  As a creative person this self censorship  is stifling. Because it is often from the angry, disturbed places that the art emerges. If thoughts were crimes, many of us would be fucked.  And many (most) books would be burned. Let's be clear, "unacceptable" thoughts are now being policed. Reputations and careers are sometimes in the balance. And this is not OK. Ruining careers because you don't like what somebody says is not a right thinking, progressive, compassionate way of engaging. Righteousness is ugly, whatever side of the socially correct fence you believe yourself to be on.

And as the wearer of the cap I want to say:

Listen. Love. Be prepared to lose your victimhood. Be prepared to re-examine your power. Be prepared to be wrong. Be prepared to hear things that will change your world-view. Hold your boundaries. Be compassionate. Speak out. Take a stand. Challenge. 

But love. And listen. 
   



Monday, 26 June 2017

Non Verbal

I have nothing to say.

It makes no sense to me 
to try and place the language of words
around the language of the body.

My body knows, 
but my words 
are either missing 
or completely inadequate 
to describe the depth and subtlety 
of what my body just knows.

I lie and listen 
to my body's rhythm. 
I tune into the pulsing
beating
surging
rocking. 

The touch: 
wanted; unwanted; maybe wanted ( I don't know) 

The nearness 
the distance
the air 
and breath 

And the movement. 
The movement
Ahhhhh
The delicious flow into relationship 
with space 
and gravity 
and other. 

I can trust this wisdom.

More than the words I hear. 

More than the words I hear
spewing forth from my mouth 
and from the mouths of others. 
Pretty Ugly symbols 
to describe something utterly utterly beyond.
Beyond their power to even begin to make sense of. 

We are so fond of words. 
So fond of words 
to describe 
and categorise
and provoke 
and hurt  
and seduce
and silence. 

Here am I in my irony. 

Here am I 
in the inadequacy of my words. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

New Moon in Gemini

On this the night of the New Moon in Gemini - the sign of my birth month - I meet myself in ritual.

I meet myself on the land. Not the land of my birth, but the land which holds space in my heart's geography.

I meet myself to find release. I ask to release all that has caused my heart to break since the time of this same New Moon last year.

All of the heartbreak

All of the loss

All of the feelings of abandonment

All of the beliefs of Not Good Enough

All Of It

...

I let the Fire receive it

I let the Water receive it

I let the Earth receive it

I let the Air receive it

...

I release to Love and Healing and Wholeness those dear beautiful men who have met me in love and in hurt.
...

I release Hiding

I release Excuses

I release Avoiding the work

I release Shying away from real intimacy

I release Dependency

...

I let it all be taken and transformed and gently caressed into wholeness by the love and goodness of All That Is.
...


गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा

Gate, Gate, Paragate, 
Para Sam gate 
Bodhi svaha 

Gone, Gone, Gone beyond 
Gone utterly beyond 
Oh what an Awakening

~The Heart Sutra


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Let's Make Kindness Cool Again

The other night, in the middle of the night, I received a message.  I know, I know, I should switch off my phone when I am sleeping. All those radio waves’ll mess with your brainwaves. 

But WiFi was on when I fell asleep and the phone was right there next to me on the  pillow.
Ping!

“\get the fuvk ouy of my life!”

I imagine they typed it drunk. Or maybe with the hurried fingers of someone who’s angry, or who knows they’re doing something wrong ( like using  someone else’s facebook account, maybe?) and wants it over with before they're discovered, or before they change their mind.

Wow!
3 am
Thanks for that.

Whatever rationalisation I would normally have brought to bear on the situation was useless at 3 am. I spent the rest of the morning awake, reeling, anxious and, frankly, just damned sad.

My story is that this sort of nastiness floats around waiting for somewhere to land, until it is projected onto the next person. A sort of free floating energetic wave of bile. Mindfulness helps us dodge it, to duck,  or gracefully to circle out of its way. 

But when it lands, it sticks.

Whatever was going on in this person’s personal energetic orbit ( and they had their reasons I guess) they had no right  to throw it in my direction. But throw it they did, and it landed.  

The reason I am bringing it up is because I was already feeling into this idea of the free-floating unkindness. When I showed the first draft of this blog to a friend, she struggled with that concept that "unkindness" was a thing. Maybe so. I get that. But if we recognise kindness as a thing, then by unkindness, I mean that which is not kindness. A spectrum from just not very nice, to downright nasty. 

I started running with this thought as I  watched several conversations on social media descend into the kind of meanness that I last saw in the school playground. Bear in mind, my social media is populated by yogis and healers and “spiritual” people who should, frankly, know better. Now, we can forgive eight year olds for getting it wrong when they are just learning how to be in the world of people and words and feelings. What happened? When did the very people who are teaching others about kindness, forget how to be kind?

The energy of unkindness is pervasive and catching. It feeds on us like a parasite, it grows and infects and becomes so normalised, so much common currency that people seem to be unaware that they are even doing it. It  feels to me like a deep fear of exposure. The yogis and healers talk a good game about vulnerability but actually it terrifies us. And this propagates some serious projection. What terrifies us surely has to be someone else’s fault, right? Something that other people are doing wrong. Not simply a feeling that we have, that we all have.  The social media that brings people and communities together so creatively, at the same time has us going for each other’s throats. The Instagram filtered seeming perfection of everyone else’s life, job, dinner and sunset is all just so visibly, seemingly BETTER than what we have!  

Bring them down before they  bring you down?

Nah.

Kindness is utterly at the core of how I choose to be in the world.

I want to make Kindness cool again. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Beltane Blessings

We welcome this the first day of the season of Beltane, where we honour our inner fire. 

We now begin to move more boldly into the active phase of the wheel of the year, letting go of any remaining sluggishness, heaviness, or fear that is holding us back from following our longing, our desires and our passions...

The Beltane fire is lit, and in doing so we honour the bright bold energy of the Sun as it moves in these next few weeks towards its height at midsummer.  The Beltane Sun sparks our inner flame of love, passion, creativity and sexuality. May we tend well to these precious gifts of our humanness. 

 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mirror

Are you listening to yourself?

Are you?

Are you listening to yourself?

This is the question circulating in and around my being. The question asked of me by one who holds a very clear, polished, stark, magnifying mirror to my bullshit. I hate it. I hate this reflection. And yet, I love and trust the mirror. 

I DON'T KNOW!

What does that even look like? Or is it sound like? 

What is it that you want? He asks. 

I wish it was that simple. What I want. 

What do I want?

I want you to listen to me

I'm listening, he says.

And he was

Listening.

...
...
...

So, who is it that is not listening to you?

...
...
...

EVERYONE!

No, he says, it's YOU!

You're not listening to yourself.
...
...
...
It's ALL You!