Thursday 24 April 2008

Durga sits on her tiger in the Ganges

Coming Home

Well we have gathered for the first Peace Circle and met for our yoga flows and felt that smile of coming home in the unity that only yoga gives to us. Thank you for welcoming us back with hugs and e mails and Love. Whatever we send out, as we know, comes back to us in the circle of life. Keep giving what you hope to receive and watch how your life becomes more purposeful and fulfilling.
Some of you have asked for an extract from the club newsletter that you have heard about and which may help in current life issues you are experiencing. Hope this helps and I will be organising a special one day workshop for Cancer Relief (Or any chronic/painful condition) which will give some simple pranayama exercises to help with breathing/energising the body and mind when experiencing the tired all the time feeling; plus relaxation techniques (Yoga Nidra) to help with pain relief. There will be a cost for those who can afford to pay but no charge if you cannot pay at this time. Just ask and we will work something out.

Extract from Spring Club Newsletter:
In India, in the midst of great poverty, disease and seeming hopelessness, we experienced incredible hope and joy. Coming back to what is a paradise of abundance and opportunities, we are aware of sorrow and pain that is universal and not dependent on affluence alone.
The words of Rainer Maria Rilke are a great help in these times of seeming despair when we want answers and all we have is questions.
"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not look now for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it find yourself experiencing the answer, some day.

'Everything that exists in this ever-changing universe is pervaded by that divine intelligence'
says the Isha Upanishad. The sage sees all beings in this one great consciousness and this one great consciousness in all beings. What sorrow or delusion can there be for one who beholds this perfect unity? The most advanced practises of yoga are designed to help us feel this oneness.

Om shanti shanti shanti OM Peace Peace Peace

Friday 18 April 2008

Devon Retreat - Sammi and Iain

Devon retreat/holiday pictures

Devon retreat/holiday pictures

Yogawise Holiday Devon July 2008 - information

Why not join us on our annual yoga retreat/holiday in beautiful Devon. Actually it is a Duchy of Cornwall Farm which pleases Iain no end as he hails from those parts and still hankers after the surf at Harlyn Bay where we met this life time.
Holiday dates: Saturday 12th to Wednesday 16th July 2008 arriving for tea on saturday and leaving after lunch on wednesday.
Look at to see the wonderful en-suite accommodation and surrounding area and travel directions.
Our website for past pictures and testimonials.
Or give us a ring for a chat re. your individual needs and suitability for what is offered.
Cost includes all yoga and meditation, guided walks, hot tub/sauna,
three meals a day -vegetarian food and en-suite accommodation.
Massage (optional) and travel extra although we can usually arrange shared transport.
Single occupancy is £505 and shared room is £470 each.
These dates are suitable for all levels of yoga student, all ages and male or female.

The Yoga Retreat is only for serious students of yoga/meditation and can already run with the number I have. However if you think you would add value and gain value in this dedicated group we would love to hear from you especially any men as we have three already and it would help our yin-yang balance even more!
Dates: Tuesday 8th to Saturday 12th July arriving for lunch and leaving after lunch. Cost:£550

Thursday 10 April 2008

Back to Snow in UK?


THANK YOU - MY DARLING WIFE for being a great travelling companion - luckily our rhythms as ever were compatible - just as well.
INDIA - for ever ready to teach us a lesson - only the other day a young boy with a beaming smile sat alongside a wall - he had no arms - but he radiated something special - that so many of us could learn from and although I gave him a few rupees he gave me much more......
ALL THE GODS statues on the dashboard - lit up at night - thank you for keeping us safe on the roads by night and day.
THE GANGES for offering us so many wonderful sights and experiences from Haridwar to Gangotri - amazing!
THE PEOPLE - their kindness, hospitality, spirit, sense of humour, resilience and presence.

Au Revoir.


Preparing for home

Sitting in our comfortable homestay in Delhi and preparing for the flight back to Kerala tomorrow and then the long flight home to Heathrow on Monday!

Leaving Rishikesh was bittersweet. The last week was like heaven sitting by the banks of the Ganges watching a Kingfisher a few feet away on a rock totally ignoring us as s/he waited for the right moment to dive in the holy waters for breakfast...not a vegetarian yogi, Maria but a true present moment soul!

The soft breeze, the cool waters and the clear sunshine blessed our last week. Hearing the evening Araiti..pure soulful chants from the young boys of the Temple opposite where we stayed was magical and humbling. These boys had been robbers or worse to survive and had been given a home by a lovely Swami who saved them from prison or worse and offered a new way in this land where so many are denied a second chance.

Nada of the area I have been wanting to expand with all of us as it is the quickest way to self realisation in this Kali age. We experienced amazing feelings in the Bhagan temple of the Divine Light Ashram with a tiny yogi Swami priest who was so sincere in his love of Krishna and so fun loving. It was where Hari Krishna has been chanted non stop for over one hundred years! Power in the air and in our was the only place I felt this truth in any of the Ashrams in India with their hierachy and religious bents. Yoga is not a religion...hinduism is.

It has been a hard journey health wise for both of us but it was worth the endurance for what we have learnt and for the people we have shared so much with in this land of ancient wisdom.

We also learnt to be more tolerant as to not surrender and accept what is happening here only makes you go insane or violent or both! Thank God for Yoga...breathe, relax, let go..OM!

Friday 4 April 2008


There is more yoga in the west ! Whether there is more spirituality - I think not, However, with
India you have to be discerning with how people appear to you, how they act, what they wear,
above all are they spirirualin their hearts regardless of whether they are rich or poor?
Ashrams have a pecking order, priviliges, rules, no rules, devoted devotees, people there for their own ends, some are austere, non-smiling, unsympathetic, others are kind, gentle and giving.
My question is......Where is the beauty love and joy of yoga? If it is not evident then perhaps you should look further until you find it.
Cleanliness is a big issue - eating areas - god nutitiona food is esential too.
Staff who are helpful, positive and welcoming rather than many a sour faced uninterested person. To be willing to serve and be of service.
Mostly the Ashrams apear to be unfriendly noisy places with little stillness and few practitioners with real spirituality. They seem to prefer the 'carrot and the stick' approach - stick first. No room for visiting Sadhus - seems a crime - a step too far on the profit road.
However thay will not be afraid of my criticism as they are making more and more money each year. In India it appears that everyone is building - Ashrams, hotels, individuals.


The beauty of the Himalayas as with all mountain ranges can only be experienced. We would love to come back and visit the 'Valley of the Flowers' when the wildflowers are in full bloom !

In Dharali - it is no 'one horse town' in fat it is a 'two bull' town as the cows and the bulls wander at will. Our room has a panoramic view of the surrounding snow-clad mountains - it is our kind of town - small picturesque with very friendly inhabitants - once they get to know you.
On our last day we went to alocal eatery and asked for some garlic - the cook replied that he had none - at which point two whole sacks suddenly appeared right outside the premises !?
Problem solved - or wished for !?
The day we left town we said our farewells to Pratham and wished his family well.
Corsik - his brother on his way to college - joined us on our three hour journey down the mountain roads to Uttarkashi.
We again headed for the small Ashram of Swami Premananda to recuperate from three days of quite intense cold especially at night ( no heating or running water - we had to run and get it). We both went down with colds and needed a few days to recover.
In the heat of 'The garden of eden' it was relatively easy to do so.

We experienced Holi Day and bravely dressed in white - Holi is when over a two-day period
everyone blesses each other with coloured powder wet and dry - Everyone got involved young and old with much relish and we all resembled rainbows of vibrant greens purples blues and reds. Water pistols, buckets and cunning were used in much supply.

Thursday 3 April 2008


This was to set up a magical day because Pratham and his cousin Mahesh arranged afour wheeler truck which as it turns out was the only vehicle to make it up such a tough , rock strewn, tree strewn and rutted road with snow! Little did we know but these guys were bringing food and provisions for a very special woman - Lalita Lahira Matagi. A woman in her 50's who had surrendered to God.
She had lived for years on Vivekanda Rock at the shrine of Vivekananda, Cape Kumari. She moved to the Himalayas after reading Yogananda's Biography of Yogi..Read It! After wandering on the mountains and glaciers for some time she settled in a cave. She comes down in the winter into the small village.
She gave us a lot of time and good advice even though we did not want to impose. Matagi on greeting Sammi said" I know you!"......oh dear...we know this one don't we fellow yogis!

After an hour or so we said our goodbyes and went to see the rest of this sacred town, its ashrams and temples. it was like a ghost town and just the way we like it...empty and peaceful.

Snow lined the main streets and only one priest and two monks were evident. All offered us chai.We had a glorious walk around, in the quiet and solitude, the only sound was the Ganga and temple bells and waterfalls. OMMMMMM

We felt the water and surprisingly it was not too cold...felt a lot of energy and power here.

It was a very memorable day and we were very grateful to Pratham for taking us there. He never mentioned that Matagi would be there and we travelled with no expectations..always the best way to go. Receive and surrender to what is and let it all unfold!


After hugs and greetings he lead us straight up the stairs and into a room -
accomodation sorted !
Wewantedto surprise Pratham but word had got around town that two Westerners were in town. Exciting really like gunslingers had arrived !?
We had tried to ring every day but the phone lineshad been down.
Anyway, here he was and it was great to see him again. After hugs all round and
the everpresent cup of chai he took us around the town to show us some of the older wooden dwellings with wonderful carvings. He knew everyone ! We also
visited a temple which was sunken below ground level on the banks of the Ganges. Opposite there were many wooden houses said to house Brahmin Monks. When lit at night they were charming.
Pratham's hospitality was superb as we were invited to a home-cooked dinner at his family home. We met his Dad, his Uncle, brother Corsik, his sister who kindly cooked for us.
The next day our driver and a mechanic could not fix the car so we had to end
our partnership.


We set off on the'long and winding road' but so scenic in this epic valley surrounded by high mountains. We were joined by another traveller who as it turned out was relatedto Pratham !? His Uncle - at least he would know the way.
The road was very tough on the car - so many ruts, boulders, roadworks of epic proportions - A tunnel from Dehra Dun is being built which will enable many Delhi folk to reach the mountains in less time - more money for the area but maybe not a good thing overall - however thereis room for improvement from
this Medieval road.
Yes, this bumpy road is the only road to Gangotri - where thousands of Pilgrims wind their way every year. Well, eventually the car had a problem with the front
wheel - bearings. Wedidn't panic as weknew that we had two weeks at least to get back !
We limped into Dharali and unbelievably we we stopped outside Pratham's
family hotel and guest house - he never told us ! Who should cross the road to enquire but Corsik, who we had last met many thousands of miles away in