For the last couple of months I’ve been teaching a weekly yoga class to men coming towards the end of long prison sentences. Some were introduced to yoga in prison – for others this lunchtime session in probation service hostel is their first yoga experience.
Aged 20, around 1985/6
I turn 50 tomorrow. I can’t quite believe it. I feel more like 15: still a bit nervous when I meet new people, uncomfortable with figures of authority, curious about the world, full of awe for its beauty, and longing for connection with my fellow human beings.
But I have to face it; I am now in my autumn years. The high energy and excitability of youth has gone; the decade or two of focused intent on work, marriage and children is passing and I am entering a new phase. Continue reading
This reflection – or meditation – was conceived on 20 June, Midsummer’s Eve 2015, with 19 of my yoga friends forming a sunny circle in a grassy Dorset meadow.
The tribute my sister and I made to our mother, who has died of cancer, at her funeral last week. Continue reading
At this time of year we can sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by demands on our time and energy. Even if you’re not trying to live up to self-imposed expectations of making perfect home-made Christmas cards (no way) and home-cooked Christmas pud or cake (guilty!), there are huge lists of things that “have to be done by Christmas” – at work and at home.
The kids have all sorts of extra seasonal school events and performances to attend; the dreaded Christmas shopping won’t do itself; and friends will insist of throwing parties or inviting your out for Christmas drinks! It’s tempting to say, “Bah humbug”” to the lot of it. But before I do, here are my top tips for beating the December frazzled feeling in 10 minutes or less: Continue reading
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
We’re nearing that time of year when we think about kicking our bad habits – and adopting some good ones. If yoga is going to be one of your New Year’s resolutions, how can you give yourself a reasonable chance of keeping it? Continue reading
Earlier this month I spent a weekend in complete silence. From Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon I spoke to no one. No catch-ups with friends or family; no shouting at the TV, or the kids; no embarrassed small-talk with strangers; not even any hellos or thank-yous.
And it wasn’t just real chat I abstained from; the virtual stuff went too: no Facebook, phone or computer; no newspapers or books. I spent the whole weekend alone with my own mind. And I did this alongside 20 others taking part in a silent meditation retreat run by the Prison Phoenix Trust (PPT). Continue reading