Namaste Yogis & Yoginis,
When people ask me whether it is really appropriate to be involved in politics as a yogi, I have a one word answer “Gandhi”.
One of the greatest yogis of our time, Mahatma Gandhi was also an activist, who worked selflessly for the betterment of the underprivileged and to right injustice. He is held up as a Spiritual Warrior, one to aspire to, and coined the infamous phrase “be the change you want to see in the world”. Others like him include teachers such as Thich Nhat Hahn and the Dalai Lama among others. Beloved spiritual teachers, and activists.
Many known gurus/teachers have a branch of their organisation that is charitable – offering food, shelter, education and refuge. This is largely because a large part of Yogic and Buddhist traditions is to alleviate the suffering of others, and compassion (karuna) is a key factor in that. Compassion in these traditions is not passive, but active. It is the understanding of, and the desire to help remove, harm and suffering from others. Yes, we do the practices to alleviate our own suffering and find peace/liberation within, but what good would that be if others are suffering? How can we be at peace, knowing that while we are comfortable and happy, others are not? For another key teaching is that we are all one. If one person is suffering, all suffer, life is suffering. When the earth is suffering, so do the animals, the communities, the spirits... Us.
The same atoms that pass through everything in the universe pass through us. This doesn't mean we must be miserable – it means we have a choice what we contribute to the collective experience – peace, or more suffering. As yogis, we are consciously aware of our choices and hope to contribute positively to the collective, in a way that raises everyone up. Yoga is union, not separation, isolation or exclusion.
To be honest, I don't love politics. I don't even enjoy it. But it is a key element to the collective experience in our modern world, and to be honest, while there are amazing things happening - new awareness rising, new renewable technologies etc; there is still much to be done, and much to improve. Our record in Australia is lacklustre – our treatment of the Original owners and asylum seekers, our political system that favours big polluters, our poor environmental track record, these mean it is almost impossible to rest, to be at peace. There are some who want to create a new system – yes, go for it, but don't exclude efforts from within the current system while that is happening.
We have an opportunity and a responsibility to reduce suffering in our communities and land – even by simply voting in a certain way. People often think they have to make a grand gesture, be a super influencer – but Meher Baba reminds us “it's the small daily acts of life” that create love. Our friends and community in NSW have an opportunity this coming weekend, the nation goes to vote in May sometime. Embrace this chance to make a small change, let it accrue with all the other many small actions of millions of people and be something that leads us to peace, prosperity, respect, and love for all – People, Communities, Nature, near and far.
When we synergistically act with compassion, we raise everybody up. Yoga is more than asana. Yoga is union, peace, love, truth and bringing all to the highest potential state of being possible. Yoga is on the mat, and off it. Yoga is recognising the connection between us all. Yoga is kindness and active compassion, honesty and service. Yoga is awareness and clarity. Yoga is gratitude. Yoga is skill in daily life actions – sometimes to cook, to clean, to care for our families, or to do our job well, sometimes to step in when someone is being treated badly, sometimes to stop ourselves saying an unkind word... and sometimes Yoga is simply to put our vote towards whatever brings the greatest good to all and our beloved Mother Earth.
Blessings from us all,
Suzanne & the GCYC team
COMING UP AT GCYC...
Build Your Blood Quality with Ayurveda
Saturday 23rd March at 12.30pm - tickets $25
Ashtanga 2nd Series Full Vinyasa Class
Friday 19th April (Good Friday) at 10am - tickets $30
**Not suitable for Ashtanga beginners**
GCYC Yoga Art Prize
Your chance to WIN 3 MONTHS FREE YOGA!
ENTRIES CLOSE ON 30th APRIL 2019
Inviting all creatives to show us what yoga means to you - beginner artists welcome!!
1. Submit all artwork via the event page on Facebook, entering as many times as you like;
2. At the end of each month, one piece will be picked at random and featured in our newsletter, along with full credit and contact details of the artist;
3. In April 2019, all art work will be deliberated by an experienced panel of judges, and one of the artists will receive the grand prize of 3 months FREE YOGA at Gold Coast Yoga Centre!
4. If you are sharing your artwork for the competition via your own social media channels, please ensure you tag us! To included in the draw for the grand prize, the piece must also be shared to the Facebook event page.
**Details to follow on our expert judging panel and an exhibition event at the centre**
EASTER & ANZAC DAY 2019 - Timetable changes
Practice Tips - How often should I practice?
One of the hardest things to do, both as a practitioner and teacher, is to know when to push forward and when to pull back.
In the beginning, many people who try yoga love the feeling it gives them and jump right in. If some is good, more must be better, right? Well..... not all the time. Often when people do too much too soon, they drop out completely after two or three months, sometimes never to return. As yoga is a lifelong practice, that keeps giving deeper and deeper insight into what makes you a healthy, happy human being and connecting you to your highest self (whatever you call it), it is best to start slow, and build up a foundation that will let you go further, deeper over time.
Too much too soon, or too much at any time can deplete the body, strain the joints and nervous system, stir up toxins, overload the organs, and stir up the old emotions and wounds that we all still carry. Building resilience, strength and knowledge of your body/mind limits will help you to move forward without overloading the system and maintain integrity, enthusiasm and growth in your practice. If you are stopping and starting, or getting injured regularly – you may be doing more than is right for your body/mind/life at this moment in time. Drop a class, or drop a level and begin building up again... your teacher can offer you guidance around this.
- As a beginner, we only recommend 1-2 times per week. After a while, you'll start to notice that you crave more. Then add another class. Maintain at 3 until again, you feel called to do more.
- 3 times a week is a great level to maintain and gently progress your practice.
- To progress further, when the time is right, 4 times a week is perfect. Also begin to read more about the other limbs, the philosophy, meditation and Ayurveda as yoga begins to become part of your lifestyle, and you need to broaden your range of tools to take it into daily living. We also begin to be aware of how yoga makes us feel, how we want to feel, and what obstacles are in the way of that – especially mental obstacles such as ambition, pride or laziness.
- To go deeper – 5/6 times a week will move into layers of awareness, the body, mind, and sense of something greater – some call spirit, but whatever that aspect is to you.
A rest day is powerful to integrate the practice, let any repair needed happen, and to create some space so you return to practice refreshed and enthusiastic.
- A few are called to daily practice. It is as natural and essential to them as breathing.
- Eventually, we aspire to living practice – when, regardless of how many times you are on the mat, your practice is 24/7 – enriching your life and deepening your connection to self, others and whatever your sense of truth/divine/mystery is. Boundaries dissolve, and you enjoy freedom of body, mind and spirit. In this way, all conscious action contributes to our growth and evolution, our liberation, contentment and joy – for ourselves and those around us, in thought word and action.
- This awareness is not just for how many times a week you are on the mat, but also for every time you are on the mat. Knowing when to push through/pull back to bring you ease and grace in your practice. Learning to discern the difference between what we desire, and what will bring us back to balance is one of the key challenges. Vairagya (dispassion/letting go) will help us to achieve this, and Abhyasa (consistent practice) will help us progress in the best way possible.
- It is something to contemplate before, during and after practice, learning from each experience on the mat. Yoga is a state of mind, but it is also of the tools that get us there – including our amazing bodies and breath. The result is an ever deepening connection to our true selves, joy, freedom, peace and love. This has a positive flow on effect to those around us, until eventually, one by one, we can literally change the world.
(From 'Yoga Sutras' by Trip Aum Shanti)
Love and blessings <3 <3 Suzanne