Sunday, 27 November 2016



More than once recently  I have had a real and deep need to write my blog  I  have been thinking of writing at least once or twice every day for the past couple of weeks . Somehow I did not want to write just  because I felt obliged to post. I wanted to write when I  had something to say. Now this evening it's like I cannot stop my fingers from dancing across the keys, relieved at last that they have been untethered and do what they have been itching to do for the last few months.

Why did I stop writing ? I search  inwardly, to discover that its probably around energy levels.   Having spent much of the last eighteen months throwing myself into developing myself has a human being, my yoga practise, my teaching skills, writing a weekly yoga column for the local newspaper, building  an imaginative renovation of  the yoga studio leaves precious little creative energy to keep my writing up to date. I dislike this, as I have always been a scribbler right from when I was a child . When I was about twelve years old  I used to keep a diary written in code so that my younger sister could not read it. I still have the diary . Now I cannot read it either as I have no idea how to crack the code!

I took this photo about a month ago, on one of my lone perambulations in the mountains where I live. I saw the image on my walk, as I see other images every day . I want to say something about the capture of the moment, but before I do, know that  I resent taking my phone with me on my walk, feeling it almost sacrilegious, disconnecting me from the moment.Yet there are photos that I want to record  either as a useful resource for a for  future Facebook update or as simple photographic record.

The image is a simple one, the man made trainer somewhat worn with a small hole in the top of , as my upturned toe has worked its way through in a futile bid for freedom.  The artificial object in all of this , the rest is The stones and  gravel, billions of years here before anything, mute witness to itself, no eye to appreciate its strength, its place in the landscape then, human vision  giving witness to its now . The water inoculated by asteroids from eons, mutely reflecting a cosmic past, currently mirroring light captured in the shades  and contours of grey stone upon grey stone. As the shadow of life looks back at the Universe. I ask whats important now?

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The More Things Change .....

I am struggling with my  personal yoga practise . I practise with asana (poses) 5 to 6 days a week. The decision to practise is recreated each time I practise, though I only ever deal with the practise AT THAT MOMENT I never think into the future about practising tomorrow, next week, next year, everyday . I just practise today.

This week it has been hard, lacking motivation to get out of bed, not looking forward to my practise, feeling sore and stiff in my body its been the same every day since Monday. Because I have had my own yoga practise for some years I am by now accustomed to this change of feeling, about my practise, knowing that it is just a dull feeling, or an emotion or a thought and I also know that is not how it is going to be forever. Its just what's there for me right now and SO WHAT! to that feeling of ennui, lack of motivation, boredom , wanting to lie in bed etc. etc.  Today I don’t FEEL like going to practise, as a nod to my ego I think the thought I am too tired, too busy, too sore….

I still tell my body that it’s going to yoga practise, no compromise, no thinking myself out of my practise. No believing , this feeling is how it is and I that I have to follow that feeling, thought or idea. You see deep down I know this feeling too will change, because I have experienced and evidenced this change many times through my practise life. I have learnt through practise that everything changes all the time. So it’s not in the hope that things will change, and I will feel, nay want to go to practise, my experience has already taught me IT WILL CHANGE, and I just have to wait it out, for this to happen. It may happen tomorrow morning when I will leap out of bed busting to be at practise or it could happen next week, the one certain thing is, that this feeling will change and until it does, I, using WILL, will undermine my own sweet seductive thoughts, feelings and emotions and get on my mat NOW . Reminding myself that yoga is the practise of surrendering and letting go i.e not participating in my wonderful thoughts feelings and ideas and just simply return to the mat day after day.


And when the feeling does change next week and I actively want to go to my yoga practise it will be with a nod in the direction, that I recognise the change, and the sure knowledge that at some other point in the future, this too shall pass. I will once again be a reluctant yoga practitioner! Surrendering to just how it is and to just how it is not.

 Plus c,a change plus la meme chose! 

One thing is certain though, I know on the mat I will feel, think differently within 60 mins that's pure gold! How about you? How are you feeling about going to yoga practise right now ? What limiting story are you creating as to why you shouldn't go ?

See you on the mat #marellafyffeyoga

Monday, 7 March 2016

Ruminations on Retreat Part 2

Writing on the wall at Corrymeela

So the week continues. I am amazed how far some folk have travelled for this, New Zealand, Greece, Spain , all over the UK and Ireland . A large percentage of the  course participants were woman,  and came  from  diverse backgrounds, large numbers from the medical field, academia and therapy also featured . Just the one yoga teacher not hard to  guess who that was? Average age I guess was 45+ There were a few younger folk there but not many. Every day started with a practise of  mindfulness with accompanying  mindful movement, followed by breakfast, a bit of course teaching by the leaders this generally ended with a period of reflection and journaling. After lunch we had teaching practise in small groups . Dinner then another evening practise. Overnight silence during which we were strongly encouraged not to use our phones, not to bring any extra reading material, just to be present with ourselves alone.  We had one period of  24 hours of unbroken silence, other times we had meals in silence or parts of days in silence most evenings there was silence after 9pm.

The programme was intense and sustained encouraging us to enquire deeply into our inner selves. As it was experiential learning it  encouraged us to embody mindfulness meditation practise into our daily lives. I guess the best way to explain this is, say for example there was a farmer who grew potatoes and knew everything about  potatoes, he knew the taste, texture and flavour of potatoes , knew what they smelt like, what they felt like, how to grow them and so on, in fact knew everything possible about growing and eating potatoes. Then imagine you have an academic who has spent a life time studying the potato and also  knows  everything there is to know about the potato but has never tasted, touched or felt  a potato. Who would you say had the deeper knowledge about potatoes? Mindfulness is a bit like this , unless you have a felt sense of it in your body it would be pretty pointless trying to teach mindfulness. Hence the need for  deep experiential learning .....if that makes sense.

I did not find the periods of silence particularly difficult. I did not find the long periods of meditation too difficult either. I did find it difficult to sit and do nothing just be with myself right here, right now. I  didn't know what to do with myself . I felt a bit unstrung by it and ended up taking long walks which were allowed. It seemed a bit of a relief to be able to get away from Corrymeela every now  albeit just down the road to the sea.I could not figure out if I was simply resisting the process or even if it was a good, bad or neutral experience. I just decided to go with the flow and see what came out of it. Trying to let go of the need to analyse and draw conclusions . Just to notice what showed up for me.

It sure gave me plenty of time to study my other colleagues and my teachers.....but more about that tomorrow .

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Ruminations On Retreat Part 1

People keep asking me how was it? And I do not know how to answer. Yes I was away on a retreat yet at the same time it was a teacher training for mindfulness. Do I say I had a good time? Yes,  I did ...I think, but that just doesn't quite describe it . It does not come anywhere near describing walking into a room full of folk that you have never met before, knowing that you are going to spend a whole week with them and that a lot of that time would be in silence.

To set the scene the event took place in Corrymeala a well known centre just outside Ballycastle on the North Antrim Coast. The location is superb and the room we were in had sweeping views of the sea on three sides. The stunning vista mixed with the ever-changing weather sweeping in from the sea on a particularly stormy week was some back drop to a week inner contemplation . Howling wind and gunshot hail mixed  with the brightest of sunshine and blue skies. The background scenery changing every few moments giving an unspeakable  depth, veracity and tone to our day to day activities.

Sitting in the room getting to know people, inwardly sizing them up, taking stock trying not to listen to the inner critic. Instantly forgetting names as they spoke, desperately trying to retain any fact at all about them. Wondering how long would I be able to sit? Would I be able to sit at all in meditation? Wondering about the leaders, noticing different accents from around the world. Wanting to be anywhere except where I was, asking myself  when would tea be ? Mindful .......not much.

7am next  day we get straight into it,  feet on the floor,  notice how I am feeling, what am I thinking? Feeling tense and anxious, thinking about everything ...from the colour of the carpet, to wondering had I turned off the light in my bedroom.  What are my emotions? That’s easy, only one answer in turmoil.   Turning my attention to the breath, allowing my awareness to expand to the edges of my body and the space beyond. Returning continually to the breath every time I lose the run of myself in my thoughts  .  Repeating this small ritual  again and again and again and again was to continue all week.  Somewhere in the room someone evidently has a heavy cold, as the noises one makes when one has a cold seem to be amplified in the silence. Faintly I think I hear someone snoring and congratulate myself that at least it is not me as I had slept badly the night before. Immediately notice that I am away off thinking about not sleeping and drag my reluctant ass back into the game of staying present. The minutes tick by following the led meditation, finally the bells went and we were able to go to breakfast. Eating in silence and  doing all the things that one has to do to prepare breakfast tends to concentrate the mind. Everything seems louder than usual from the person beside you eating, to the screech of chairs being pushed back on a hard surface.

Again I notice that I do not want to be here, so I get up and leave the table needing some space between myself and others, this was to be a pattern I would repeat all week until pretty much the latter end of the week. I seemed to need to be away from folk not wanting to engage in any way and anyhow there was little point as we could not speak. Later on that day after lunch I get out for a walk enjoying mightily the views and the  raw wildness  of the early March weather.  Walking up the road the sun momentarily breaks the cloud and the country is bathed in the kindness of a gentle light, blue patches of sky between the navy ragged grey of the storm clouds. To be continued.

Coastal walk near Corrymeala

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Why Teaching Yoga is so Important to Me

Why Teaching Yoga is so Important to Me

Have you ever had a moment in your life where a thought comes into your head and you just know that is what you have to do. Well that moment arrived for me in June 2013 I was at home in the kitchen of my house feeling utterly dejected, bruised and battered metaphorically speaking. I had just had another awful row in an ongoing argument with my grown up family, another battle in an endless war that had gone on for two previous years. I was exhausted, I did not know who to turn to or what to do. I seemed to be alienating my family at every turn. The background to this story is I came out as a gay woman to my husband of over 25 years and my three children in 2011. I was in a relationship with a woman at that time. For the first time in my life it was a same sex relationship that I did not want to deny disown or walk away from as I had done so often in the past.

Battling through the next two years the pressure was enormous, then that evening in the kitchen a voice in my head said “ It does not have to be like this”. At that moment I realised that I had choice and decided to come out in public. I packed my stuff and moved into a flat that evening. I then circulated an email to about 20 of my friends telling them all. By this stage the relationship that had precipitated these events had burst apart at the seems unable to be sustained under such strained circumstances. I spent a very lonely 18 months feeling alienated from myself, and  alienated from anyone I ever loved or who loved me, as everyone  struggled with my truth. It brought me to my knees and to a place of deepest despair, unable to see light  except further descent into that dark night of the soul.

You see for the first time in my life I truly understood what it is to be a refugee, a prisoner, a homeless person,  a person with mental health problems, or just  anyone who seems to live  outside the expected and assumed NORM of daily life. For the first time in my life I experienced what it feels like not to be loved , what it feels like to be rejected, what it feels like not to automatically have empathy, compassion or understanding ,not to have someone smile at me in a friendly fashion when I most craved it . I experienced anger , coldness , being misunderstood on a daily basis from those that I loved most in the world . I lived knowing that people did not want to have anything to do with me and did not have the will or inclination to rectify the situation . I also had a deep insight that I was only one amongst millions who must suffer like this on a daily basis for different reasons.

So why am I sharing this story here? Well here’s why, that particular time in my life scored some very difficult lessons on the blackboard of my soul, whilst simultaneously giving me tremendous gifts. I resisted that learning for a long time, very slowly the first and most important of these gifts revealed itself and that is Total Surrender. By handing over charge of my life to the Universe and then facing my worst fears, releasing and letting them go, relaxing in the knowledge that everything is exactly as its meant to be, I came to know and have the confidence that everything would work out alright.As soon as I got that gift , things started to change.It was swiftly followed by two others Acceptance and finally Forgiveness. I thought I understood these concepts but it was not until I started to live in them every day that their true meaning was revealed. Acceptance is sweet when it arrives , killing anxiety , pain and loneliness. Forgiveness has to happen every day, not just on the days I am in good form, but on all the other days in my life , probably for the rest of my life. I don't just mean forgiving others "for they know not what they do” which I do . The biggest act of forgiveness is to myself . Once I could forgive myself everything started to accelerate. I was able to expand, grow and blossom.

Coming back as to why I am sharing this story and the gifts I received . Here is my question to you.What could you surrender to in your life ? What is it that you are resisting ? Who do you need to forgive? Remembering my own sense of alienation, dejection, deep depression and hopelessness, feeling totally unloved in the world, at that time of my life, I ask you . What is one small thing you could do for someone else that would make them feel that you care?

Today I teach yoga from a very different place as a result of my experiences .If I can alleviate a little of the suffering and pain of another human being through the sharing of my journey. Or If another human being can begin to realise their own possibility as a result of coming to my yoga class, well then that is my time very well spent and I will teach yoga as long as my dear, sweet , life allows.

My  life experience has honed, refined and evolved me as a human being . The three gifts have been transformative .I continue to journey and  evolve .These days I walk with courage and grace in the world  I live in the NOW and fear nothing placing my trust in something greater than me . I  am hugely grateful for the many, many blessings I have in my life!! Sure I have a hard time counting them all !!!

I have moved back to the family home ,together yet apart and it is challenging but as a group of compassionate  human beings we are slowly figuring out a way to make it work. Creating a community that is outside the NORM. This has taken a lengthy period of my life and trust me the work is still ongoing.
These days I truly live in the full knowledge and acceptance that I am not in charge of my own sweet life. See you on the mat! #marellafyffeyoga

Marella in a silly moment at a yoga shoot!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

YogaHour with Marella Fyffe

YogaHour Strule Arts  Omagh 7 to 8pm and Beginners yoga 5.30 to 6.30 . The photo below was taken last Thursday 10th . YogaHour An accessible, affordable, and expertly taught flow-form class for the fit beginner is starting to take off here in Omagh. Those who come every week  notice big changes not only in their bodies, but also in their lives. I notice it in the new faces that  show up to join the class. New people solely coming because of  word of mouth and recommendation. I notice it in peoples faces, gradually softening over the weeks and months of practise . I notice it in the way people walk and carry themselves .
YogaHour with Marella 
What people have said to me is that  by adding in just one more YogaHour  practise a week,  they are stronger, more flexible, have an ability to respond to situations instead of reacting, have more control over their lives, able to recover quicker from mood downturns , from physical  illness, are less inclined to get colds and flue, are generally happier  and at ease in the world for longer spells of time.
Those who came because they are unhappy with the shape of their body soon discover a contentment with how things are, and as folk come to practise and keep practising very,very gradually their bodies start to respond and others begin to remark on how well they look .

The recent production of my own  yoga sequences and making them available to all classes  has further inspired people to get on the mat during the week between classes. The active practise of working with a pre sequenced set of poses actively engages the participant so that the practise itself becomes less of a passive experience, thus enabling the practitioner to progress much more quickly.

Christmas is a difficult time for many. Having a consistent yoga practise, gradually over time  starts to erase unhealthy food, drink habits and even addiction problems. It does not replace one addiction with another but instead gives you access to something greater.  This,  becomes more attractive than any short term high, one simply starts to loose the desire, looses the need for the comfort  of alcohol or over indulgence .   I know having a solid yoga practise over the festive time helps keep me grounded and content in myself. Try it out.#marellafyffeyoga