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

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Use Thunderbolt to Focus Your Mind and Achieve Your Goals

In Sanskrit Vajarasana
 Vajar = thunderbolt asana= pose

The word discipline has all sorts of suggestions and meanings  and when I began to practise yoga I used to shiver every time my yoga teacher spoke about discipline, all sorts of childhood  boarding  school memories would surface.
Discipline was something that happened when what I did, did not align with how someone in authority wanted  the world to be . Learning about discipline in yoga , I realised that I had to rehash the word for myself, so that I could help my students receive the true blessing of discipline in their practice. Discipline, in yoga is remembering to do  what you want every day and in every moment. It is teaching the mind to focus on your goals, your vision, your happiness and most importantly  the present moment.The practice of learning to focus is called Abhyasa or the attitude of "Persistent Effort" to attain stability in your practice.
Practising persistently is the most effective method of controlling the mind, when we get control of our minds , we get control of our bodies , when we get control of our bodies we get control of our lives.Training the mind to keep coming back to the present moment instead of running away from the discomfort is a yogic exercise by itself.

Take the thunderbolt pose for example. This pose is one of the few ways to stretch the toes and the soles of the feet and is for  many folk one of the most inflexible parts of the body.  Learning to sit in it consistently is a challenge for those who are unwilling to invest their mind in it too. Only persistance will bring a certain familiarity and acceptance . My personal  take on persistence is that of  being doggedly determined day after day  with no shred of evidence that I will achieve my goal.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Cowboys and Indians

Cowboys and Indians

My sister and I decided we would like to play cowboys and indians on our ponies, well if the truth be known it was  me who decided and forced my long suffering sister and accomplice to take part, probably using a fair bit of coercion and manipulation to get my own way. We arranged with our friends that they would bring their ponies to our home . We lived on about 30 acres of land just outside a small town in the Republic of Ireland . It was one of those rare, stunning summer days in Ireland all the more treasured as they happen so infrequently. I felt that day that I could live forever.

Waiting for my friends to arrive and with not a lot to do I lay back on the short grass in front of the stables. Interlocking my fingers behind my head I gaze up into the spaceless infinity. Gradually the sounds of the day fade and something shifts, for a very short or long  moment I have crystal clarity and everything  stops, locked in a moment of timelessness, I cease to be aware of myself only the comprehension that I am no longer an extra in the landscape but an intrinsic, elemental part of it. My edges blur I neither  know or feel the separation of my body  I only exist expanding ever outwards spinning in the Universe.  Aware yet not aware, curious yet knowing everything, in silence I be suspended between two worlds, thought left far behind. Gradually, gently, slowly, bird song seeps back into my consciousness and I notice the grass under my body. I understand  I have been part of something that I have no name for. Picking myself up from the ground  I walk back to the stable deep in 10 year old thought.

My friends arrive, four of them three girls and a boy. We all get on our ponies and go out through the yard gate I say nothing to any of them. Later on that day, back lying on the grass again, this time in not so comfortable circumstances I was to remember with nostalgia the earlier  grass experience. We had been riding our ponies without saddles because some of us were indians and thats what indians did on the telly . Us indians were hiding in the gorse away from the cowboys who were tracking us . My pony Trixie was startled by a blackbird disturbed by our passing,  suddenly flying from the furze bush, shrieking it's alarm call. Trixie ducked sideways and I pitched ignominiously over his shoulder connecting with all the prickles of the gorse as I fell. On my downward trajectory I  inhale the fragrant  coconut smell  of the furze bush on a hot summer day. I hit the ground and a big sloppy cow path. Shaken but mostly uninjured I sit up ruefully watching Trixie grab his moment of freedom by making a dash for home. I listen to the  thud of hooves on the summer beaten earth fading into the distance.

Gorse in full bloom

Noticing the long stalked grass moving gently in the wind I carefully select one and stick it between by teeth sucking the stalk. Feeling tired, I lie back for a moment in this hidden place basking in the heat, noticing the deep ruts, hardened to cement like consistency,  caused by cattle hooves earlier in the spring.  All around me the yellow flowers of the gorse shower me with their golden scent the field grass feels unforgiving and prickly the ground rough and hard, regretfully I stand up. I was covered all over with tiny pinpricks of blood from the gorse. Later I heard from the others that Trixie came dashing back into the yard covered in the same pinpricks from his crazy bolt through the gorse. Trixie a black and white pony and given to panic attacks , not following the path home took a short cut and looked like someone had taken a  slim red paint brush and painted tiny red dots everywhere from nose to hoof. An hour later I too limped into the yard to the shrieks of laughter from the cowboys who were sitting around the picnic table  eating packs of Tayto and drinking Taylor Keith red lemonade. Pulling apart a crisp bag and inhaling the first whiff of Tayto I take a crisp and feel the sting of the raw saltiness of it on my tongue. I grab a glass of lemonade and glug it in great mouthfuls thirstily sucking the fizz and sweetness of if, noticing the hardness of it sliding down my throat. I lie back sighing with contentment  and immediately the smell of a fresh mown lawn reminds me of the two other occasions  I had laid on the grass on that hot summer day. 

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Swimming in the Pond

I went for a swim this evening in my pond on the farm . Its about 5pm and the last light is slowly fading from the sky. There is a slight orange glow towards the south west, the  lights of the town are on and sparkle in the evening twilight. I come from my yoga practise warm and alive, head upstairs and don my red dressing gown, grab my week's swimming towel and convince/nay tell  my body it's going for a swim . Perhaps I should mention that it's the 31st of October, the evening is a relatively balmy 10 degrees centigrade and the water is the same. I walk down by the geese who have settled in for the evening and then past the hens hearing the odd contented cluck as I pass, one last tardy hen, runs towards me in the ever hopeful quest for food. I pass on, Mac my dog a border collie, runs ahead in delight knowing whats coming, tail up and waving like a banner in the wind. I follow the path to enlightenment or at least to the ponds edge, slip off my crocs shed my red dressing gown, dump my towel at a convenient spot on top of a rush bush.

I slip into the waters feeling the mud squashing between my toes . The pond is dark and still, almost mysterious, edged round with the centurion swords of the bull rush. The water is deep and solemn  and I breast stroke forward. I feel the coolness of it sliding down the sides of my body I imagine it meeting in a v shape between by shoulder blades before rushing down my back in the moment of immersion.  My fingers cut the waters creating a perfect minor bow wave that ripples through the oily silkiness of the water, far away in the distance I notice the first firework of the evening explode into the silence of the  night. The pond is hidden amongst the rushes and even though I am quite close to a neighbours house I take immense secret pleasure in knowing that they do not have a clue that I am  swimming in the pond on the last night in October less than 50 feet from their door. It feels remote and timeless. As I swim the weeds of the pond sensuously brush the under parts of my torso and caress my arms bringing me back into my body and the moment. Swimming like this immerses me in death, swimming  elementally, silently, eyes level with the white stems of the majestic bull rushes , ceremonially I dip my face in the water and feel its stinging rebuke, eyes open looking to the endless gloom, whooshing the breath from my chest and the blood from my extremities. Gradually it happens the inital withdrawal of blood from the hands and feet, the numbing of my crotch, very slowly the water ceases to be cold and begins to feel hot against my skin. I smile and relax and journey inwards oblivious to cold, time, I hear nothing I see nothing I am the velvety darkness of nowhere , the edges of my body merged with the water and I am the body I am the water. I am nowhere I am everywhere.

At the edge of the rushes I notice a little moor hen watching this intrusive stranger with its curios warm brown eyes hardly moving,  we  look one at the other, a heart beat apart and an eternity  between us. A pale moon sails momentarily out from behind a cloud and drenches the pond in a deluge of moonlight,  two bats flit close to the surface, these fly collecting creatures of the night soon disappeared. I am in the pond but not of the pond I witness myself gliding serenely around and around . A loud rustle in the rushes and my dog Mac's head appears, quizzically held as he contemplates me , I swim on by.

I start to shiver and come back into my body and know its time to come ashore. Again my feet squelch the mud and I notice the sharp feel of the spiky grass under my knees as I haul myself out . I towel myself hard all over, momentarily I stand upright naked in the moon light and know that I  am  the very essence of my being.

The pond