Malvern Wells Yoga

Smile, it's yoga! Yoga classes in the Malvern area.


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Feeling a bit philanthropic

So I’m feeling a bit philanthropic.  I’ve just been writing about Asteya, the 3rd Yama or restraint.  Asteya means non-stealing.  Not only does it mean not shoplifting or stealing tenners out of your husband’s wallet (I would never do that :-p)… but there are many deeper meanings too, that I may write another blog post about at some point.

Anyway, I got to thinking about what I give back.  Yesterday I took part in the International Women’s Day Celebration Get Together at The Grove in Malvern.  The whole day had been put together by a group of women who wanted to give something back and to help other women not as fortunate as themselves.  I just rocked up at the end with some yoga mats and candles and taught a Moon Flow class… but I didn’t really contribute to the day.

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time.  I was going to do it for my 40th birthday…and I still will, but I also want to do something now – well, in a few months.  To celebrate my 36th birthday on 14th August 2013 I am going to do 36 Sun Salutations on top of the Worcestershire Beacon.  At 425m, the Worcestershire Beacon is the highest point in the Malvern Hills.

I am hoping to raise £360 (£10 per Sun Salute) for the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust.  I have suffered from HS since I was about 15 years old.  It is a chronic, debilitating skin disorder estimated to affect around 1% of the UK population.  People often suffer in silence because the areas affected tend to be of an “intimate” nature and they are too embarrassed to seek medical advice about it.

The aim of the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust is to increase public knowledge and educate the medical profession on the symptoms, treatments and severities of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and to provide vital funds for the purpose of research into causes, prevention and treatment.

So why 36 Sun Salutations?

I’m a Vinyasa Flow Yoga teacher.  I began yoga in the first place as a way to lose weight (something that can exacerbate HS), plus I found that yoga is an excellent way to manage stress (which also contributes to HS) and pain.  A flare-up of my skin can cause chronic pain that can last for days, weeks or even months.  Some people aren’t as lucky as me and they never, ever experience pain-free days.  Whilst HS is a recognised medical condition, there is no cure for it and the medical profession remains mystified as to how to control it.  I hope that by doing my 36 Sun Salutations and raising £360, I can contribute in a small way to the work done by the HS Trust.

Please give generously to help raise awareness and to help end the silent suffering.  Thank you.  Namaste. xxx

 

 

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Bird Karma

Everyone knows I love birds.  I will stop mid-conversation to watch a buzzard soaring majestically above me.  I have narrowly avoided driving into hedges having been distracted by a kestrel or formation-flying geese.  I even have Emma Bridgewater Bird Fabric covering my dining chairs!  Bird poses are my favourite yoga poses: pigeon, king pigeon, bird of paradise, heron, eagle…

In the last week I have killed two blackbirds in separate incidents.  One whilst driving to work and the other on the way to orchestra.  Each time I’ve been utterly mortified and howled my way onward to my destination.

Ahimsa, meaning non-violence, is the first Yama (restraint) in the first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga.  In my mind it means kindness and respect for all living creatures.  I showed neither kindness or respect when I ploughed my car into my winged friends at 50mph.  On the one hand, the birds were flying very low across the road, but on the other hand I would perhaps have been able to brake if I’d not been going so fast.

I racked my brains to think of something I could do to put something  into nature as a tribute to the poor creatures whose lives I took.  I even spoke to my sister about it.  She thinks I’m a bit mental.  My friend Melanie understood, which spurred me on and I finally decided I was going to join the RSPB and pay a monthly fee to try to ease my conscience.  Something still didn’t feel right though…

I related all this to my husband the other night who came up with a much better idea, one that would actually involve some effort from me and that I would be responsible for.  He’s very clever, my husband.  He’s one of the most zen people I know.

He suggested that we consciously enhance our garden to turn it into a proper bird haven, as opposed to assorted feeders hanging off trees and hoping that the birds will come.  We are lucky enough to live by St Wulstan’s Nature Reserve on the slopes of the Malvern Hills.  We have various bird visitors at all times of year and some daily visitors who can keep us distracted for hours.  As I write there is a chaffinch in the bird house eating pink suet pellets.  We have three cats, but that doesn’t seem to bother the birds.

My husband’s idea is to put some nesting boxes high up in the trees, away from the cats, in time for spring nesting.  We want to place the feeders more intelligently and get the squirrel his own feeding platform so he stops having to vacuum seeds from one of the feeders.  We’re going to have plants and shrubs that attract birds so they get a wide variety of places to roost and different berries to eat.

I feel much more positive now that I can give something back to the birds in a personal way and contribute to their well-being, at least in our little corner of the Earth.