A while ago I received Nancy Gilgoff’s teaching schedule and with it was a heart felt message. Nancy has given me her blessing to share this message.
I felt that sharing it was important for two main reasons; 1) It inspired me to try and do a bit more, so the more of us that read it the better, 2) I have just returned from Cambodia and was really impressed and surprised to see how well a third world country takes on these yogic values, because they care about life, the planet and their fellow humans.
Nancy’s message- ‘Recently a new study on climate change was released, and it certainly has gotten my attention. It has dire warnings for all of us that inhabit this planet we call home.
As I’ve struggled to make sense of it all, I found, interestingly, the advice being given by the scientists, for what we as individuals can do to help avert possible catastrophe, sounds very similar to the yoga lifestyle: consume less, become vegetarian even vegan, and do work that supports life or right livelihood, they would say in yoga texts. So actually, all of us receiving this email should already be doing all of these things or at the very least, working to achieve these goals, as they are the among the main precepts of yoga practice.
So whether or not you believe that the earth is heading in a VERY dangerous direction or not, you still, as yogis, are already committed to consuming less, becoming vegetarian, and serving others. So keep practicing………someday you teach……and ALL is coming….
For those of us that would like to “do something,” just in case the scientists are right, it is time to raise our voices. It is happening all over the world. The voice of the people is demanding immediate action from our governments and from the companies that support our lives, to avert possible catastrophic changes on the planet. Our voices are needed now, so please do what you can. It is time for each of us to take action by making the changes necessary in our own lives as well as putting pressure on our communities and leaders, both political and business, to support a green healthy future for all of earths inhabitants. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, we are witnessing the end (finally!!!) to Kali Yuga and the next Satya Yuga will begin. Yipee!!!!!’
Thank you Nancy,
It’s all so damn true!!!
Shortly after reading Nancys email Lucy & I visited Cambodia, a beautiful country but with extreme poverty, yet here they were ‘consuming less, serving others and certainly doing work that supports life or right livelihood’
A few things I was expecting to see on my visit to Siem Reap were Angkor Wat, museums, lots of hard to take poverty, and of course a fair few monks and Buddhist temples! Yes, all these things were here, however, there was so much more.
Siem Reap is a buzzing city and many of the people living in poverty also have missing limbs through land mines. Add in a government that puts very little back into the country from the millions made from Angkor Wat visitors and it’s hard to take.
But this little blog is not about the negative, it’s about the positive.
As tourists and human beings we couldn’t help feel the need to help in some small way where possible, and we got this chance here. All we had to do was have the time of our lives and spend money mindfully in places where it may go a little way to help.
So here is where my surprises started.
The hotel was part of a cooperative with other hotels and restaurants that, not just provide a great service, they educate their staff on having as much of a plastic free hotel as they can, they recycle everything where possible, there are water refill stations, your room water is refilled daily in a big glass bottle with stopper, A percentage of your room fees goes to help local charities one of which I will talk about in a bit.
We all have to eat, Lucy (and I absolutely love to), luckily it turns out Siem Reap has the best quality vegan/vegetarian restaurants I’ve ever eaten in, gluten free options, organic, all locally sourced and some of the happiest staff you will meet.
Take a place like Sister Srey Cafe , here’s a little piece from there website. “Our vision at Sister Srey Cafe is to support young Khmer students who struggle to keep a balance between study and supporting their family. Each staff member is trained in hospitality, English language skills, personal development, health & hygiene and banking. We are a stepping stone to a brighter future and a means for them to have skills and knowledge to approach the world empowered and confident.”
They are also part of a collective of cafes who work together to clean up the area, they work on a refill not landfill project and already have 85 refill stations here and 800 all over Asia, it’s a start. All their food waste goes to local farms to help out. You can search out lots of cafes like this on line, we hired mountain bikes and found it was fun and easy getting on google maps and finding our next place to eat whether it’s a evening meal or coffee and cake!!!!
Walking through one of the market streets Lucy was offered to try a frozen yogurt product, the ones where you get your favourite flavour and add all sorts of other nice stuff to it!!! Anyway,I was talking to the manager, he was telling me he had worked every job here to learn and now it was his job to teach others and make a profit, then proudly told me they had built two houses with the extra profits for farming families who had lost their homes.
Took another clip from the website…..
“Project Y Frozen Yogurt is an educational social enterprise that opened in 2015. We are located in Night Market Street, Siem Reap, and run by university students from the Cambodia Rural Students Trust, an NGO with the mission of breaking the poverty cycle through education. All the profits remain in the NGO so we can sponsor more students and community projects. Beside the financial side, this store plays a very important role in building our students’ confidence and provides us with hands-on business education and experience!! Our students work in six different business departments – including sales, marketing, operations, production, HR and finance – and we rotate between these departments every 6 months, so we get extensive business experience. Our aim is to teach our students business fundamentals, so we can apply these skills for the rest of our lives and become the leaders of tomorrow!!”
Again people thinking about other people it was so heart warming.
Unfortunately there are still a lot of land mines in Cambodia in rural areas and especially on the boarder between Cambodia and Thailand, put there to stop Cambodians escaping into Thailand during the Khmer Rouge time. They are the sort of mine that very rarely kills, they take limbs, made for the purpose of pure fear to keep people in the country. In rural areas of course they have the big anti tank mines as well.
Now for the positive bit, Apopo the Hero rats. These are African rats trained in finding mines. I watched this happen (see photo). As soon as the rats find one they have a good scratch at it, then get a food reward, then move on to the next 2ft by 12 ft of area to be searched. They can do in three hours the same area that takes three men days. This is all charity (not government) funded. They’re using them in many countries now.
They also look very happy and healthy. Apparently African rats are intelligent and much more open to being trained. Your Cambodian rat is not interested he just likes doing ratty stuff I should imagine. And why not!!!!
So in case you are thinking of ever visiting this beautiful country here are a few things not to be missed (I could write all day of what a wonderful time you can have in Cambodia, but I will keep this shortish!)
The temples, it is worthwhile spending a few hours at Angkor National Museum first to find out the history behind the early Khmer kings and civilisation, they went from Hinduism to Buddhism but excepted both as one people.
The war museum is tough but well worth it, it’s worth having the guide, he does it for free and is passionate about it, just left him a good tip.
We are so lucky, as westerners, to be able to travel and see these places and can often feel guilty about our privileged position, but if we all just have a little look into where we are going and ask ourselves ‘is there any way we can spend our money more wisely and help at the same time?’ if yes then it has to be good.
If you have held the interest to read all this then I’m sure you’re doing your bit and more for the planet so thank you.
Friday 18th January 6.30-8pm, This is a FREE class with Jinty for beginners to Ashtanga Yoga.
It is open to anyone that is keen to learn Ashtanga Yoga but does not know where to start.
In this class you will learn the FUNdementals of Ashtanga, the similarities & how it differs from other types of yoga, a little of its traditional roots and, of course, a practice.
Plus time for any questions you may have too.
Afterward a Hot drink & a chance for a chat with Jinty & your fellow practitioners, to discuss where you go from here.
Please only apply for a place if you are serious about wanting to commit to a Yoga practice.
There will be lots of help available for you.
Apply only via email please, to Jinty at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to welcoming you to our AYE community 😊
It is our AYE Christmas gathering on Sunday, 23rd December @ 7am. A Half Primary Ashtanga Yoga class with meditation & chanting, followed by hot festive drinks & snacks & a chance to catch up with your yoga community. Completely free as a Thank you from us for a wonderful year here at Ashtanga Yoga Exmouth.
With the exception of this free class there will be no classes from Thursday 20th December, we will be back on Sunday 6th January 2019 @ 7am for Mysore Class. With all our scheduled classes back to normal. Keep practicing at home though, Sun salutations and 3 finishing postures daily (10 minutes, 6 days a week) is truly enough to make you feel great over Christmas and feel no guilt about a little over indulgence.
I am heading off to Sanskrit School at Oxford University with the OCSH and my Sanskrit teacher Zoe Slatoff from 24th January to 28th January so there will be no classes on Friday 24th or Sunday 27th January.
2019 looks to be a good year, we already have a 2 day work shop planned for June with the wonderful Andrea Lutz coming over from Berlin and more 6 Day Intensives & workshops with Neil & I. Any specific aspect of Ashtanga Yoga that you would like to study more closely? Let us know.
Look out for details of our next FREE class….. a Beginners taster class on Friday 18th January 6.30-8pm. If you or someone you know has ever wanted to try Ashtanga Yoga this class is perfect.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you peace and happiness.
Jinty and Neil
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th November
Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th November 8am
Monday 19th -Thursday 22nd November 6am
£80 for all 6 days
AYE Have your Back
We are thrilled to tell you about our new Beginners Programme @ AYE beginning April 2018.
Having run a lot of beginners/Intro courses over the years we have developed our Beginners Programme.
Things you need to know;
1) This is a 6 week (or 6 class) course.
2) You can start at any point (don’t have to wait for a specific date).
3) You can complete your 6 classes over 6 weeks (1 class per week) or 3 weeks (2 classes a week).
4) You will be taught in the traditional method, at your own pace, in this way we can ensure injuries or ailments within the body are allowed for & aided.
5) Each class will build from the previous one, adding postures when ready, Ashtanga Yoga follows a sequence of postures in which students (eventually) commit to memory.
6) You have two days in the week to choose from (or do both), Sundays @7am, Thursdays @ 6.30pm.
7) You will be in a small class with 2 teachers.
8) You will learn the postures of the Primary series to a point appropriate for you.
9) By the end of your course you will be confident in your own Ashtanga Practice so that you may practice at home and/or be part of any of any Ashtanga class.
*Included in the programme price is your own brand new Yoga Mat and entry to 4 of our other classes for you to try.
We have found that coming with a friend or partner really helps with motivation and practice at home so we have a special price to reflect this.
1) Yoga Mat,
2) 6 x ‘beginners programme’ classes,
3) A choice of 4 other classes (while on the programme),
4) Hand outs of the Ashtanga Primary Series.
£75 per person or £130 for 2 people.
We look forward to welcoming you into our friendly & growing community at our purpose built Shala, AYE.
Contact us for any more info or share with anyone that is interested in starting Astanga Yoga
This summer we are thrilled to be welcoming Nancy Gilgoff to Ashtanga Yoga Exmouth.
What will 2018 have in store for you?
Do you have plans, expectations, goals?
Plans are great but expectation not so much. Trouble with expectations is that they are not in the present.
We set ourselves up for disappointment either in ourselves or in someone close. This can lead to resentment and bad feeling which, if we are not mindful, can fester.
January is the master of Resolutions which carry huge expectations.
So if your Resolution involves more Yoga thats fantastic, try to have a plan but……….. not an expectation of ‘how many times you will practice’ or ‘how long you will practice’ or any goals like ‘by the time Neil gets back I will be able to do blah blah blah’.
If you do the work ALL these things will happen anyway and you will learn so much more along the way.
The work is not in the thinking, (in fact we are trying to let go of that) it is in the doing.
Take it one practice at a time, yes some of us need to plan baby sitters, work etc around classes, but don’t give yourself a hard time if it doesn’t work out, (by the same token don’t make excuses either! Stop thinking and DO)
Believe me whan I tell you that your teachers have no expectations of you…….Okay ……maybe one…….to turn up, get on your mat and begin……Om Shanti
Nb; the photo of Jesse the yoga dog is to grab your attention but please note that she has no expectations or resolutions and is one happy dog!
Wishing all our wonderful Ashtanga family an absolutely brilliant 2018 xxx
“Anyone can practice. Young man can practice, old man can practice, Very old man can practice. Man who is sick- he can practice. Man who doesn’t have strength can practice. Except lazy people; lazy people can’t practice Ashtanga Yoga” –Sri K Pattabhi Jois
When people ask “how can I get further into this posture or that posture?” the answer is always the same….. practice, and practice everyday. I have lost track of the amount of times that I have encouraged students to practice Ashtanga Yoga’s Surya Namaskara’s A & B plus three finishing postures six days a week. Almost no-one believes that this would be enough to reap the healing properties of yoga, yet all of Ashtanga’s eight limbs can be found right here. But this belief only happens in the ‘doing’ not the talking.
Meet our Mum, Jenny. She has been practicing yoga for two and a half years. Neil began teaching her when she was 83. She has a daily 5.30am(ish) practice- Surya Namaskara A’s and three finishing postures, with Moondays off, plus occasional days when my Dad gets impatient for his coffee!
Arthritis in her hip and knee does not stop her, neither does her back pain or the Trigeminal Neuragia (chronic nerve pain in the face and head).
She does it because of the positive effects it has during the course of the day. It gives her greater mobility and calms her busy mind. As an occasional sufferer of vertigo, where balance is affected, the yoga gives her confidence in her ability to A) not fall, and B) get up if she does. If the pain in her face is particularly bad she uses Ujji breath until it passes. What you can’t hear in the video is her breath, its strong and even and she is totally aware.
So if ‘Doing’ is believing but you struggle with a daily practice give yourself ten to fourteen days of a 15 minute practice (you spend longer than that scrolling through Facebook) and see how you feel. The proof, as they say, is in doing (or is it pudding? my mum makes a mean apple crumble too!)
Excuses? We’ve heard them all. If our 85 year old Mother can do it, why can’t you?