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The Spirit of Yoga

I wasn’t initially sure if I was going to write about this here but anyone who ‘knows’ me a little will know that when I get excited or inspired by something I have an overwhelming need to share this with the world!

The practice and philosophy of Yoga has been exciting and inspiring me since my teenage years and I continue to learn and grow continuously. However, there are many other things that I have also been drawn to throughout my life, many of which have been connected to the psychic sciences. As a teenager, alongside discovering yoga, I started exploring astrology, dream interpretation and palm reading and then in my twenties I started consulting psychic-mediums when in need of guidance and direction and became increasingly fascinated with psychic ability. In my thirties, after having my children, I started teaching yoga and then this desire to help people feel better led me to study various forms of energy healing but equally I have been exploring tarot, angel cards and crystals as a means of connecting to the Higher Self and in addition I have been exploring my own psychic ability and ability to connect to Spirit. My belief is that this has developed from both an openness to these realms but also from meditation, focused healing work and working with the Chakras as well as learning to deeply trust my intuition. Which brings me to where I am now with focusing on developing my connection to spirit and my guides and tuning in more deeply to my psychic and intuitive abilities.

I am, therefore, writing this now as I have just returned from a week of study at the Arthur Findlay College. This is my second visit to this amazing college which deservedly describes itself as “The World’s Foremost College for the Advancement of Spiritualism and Psychic Sciences” . I didn’t initially think I could relate the course back to my yoga teaching because it was in fact about deepening and exploring both my psychic and mediumistic ability but in fact there was much mention of connecting with our Souls and healing our relationship with Self. This is why I used the quote above by Paramahansa Yogananda as his teachings seemed to enter into the philosophy of my week away.

The musings of both the sufi poet and mystic Rumi and Yogananda came up during my course.

I am also trying to be more open with what I am drawn to in life because I am curiously finding people with the same interests being drawn towards me. Obviously I have met a lot of like-minded people on the many courses I have attended over the years, whether they be yoga, healing, sound or spirit-related, but in addition my students in class are increasingly opening up about their own interest in and/or experiences of this realm which is so exciting for me and helps encourage me to share my own experiences.

So now that the introductions are out of the way I have just returned from the most inspiring, healing and eye-opening week at the Arthur Findlay College.

What began with an expectation simply to develop my connection to Spirit, turned out to be so much more. At the start of the course the course leader said that this would be a ‘healing’ journey for us all. I didn’t quite understand how that could be so but he turned out to be completely right. To develop on any level, whether spiritually in a general sense or in terms of connecting to Spirit, a greater connection to Self is first required and this is what happened over the course of the week.

I have been on countless courses over the years and on each course a degree of vulnerability is not so much required as encouraged forth. When you step out of your comfort zone just from learning something new, throwing yourself into a new area of study or being partnered up with people you don’t know this all encourages growth and development but it also can be a very emotional experience. Being honest and open with people you don’t know, talking about life experiences can make you feel quite vulnerable but you also learn a lot about yourself.

Our days started at 9.30am and continued through until 9pm each day so they were very full and intensive days. We did a lot of meditation both in the traditional sense of turning your awareness inwards and inviting in stillness but also in terms of understanding our own energy in order to increase our mediumistic ability. Even just these moments gave me so much ‘space’ and left me with a deep feeling of inner peace and this wasn’t just once a day but at many intervals throughout each day.

I had the opportunity to ‘revisit’ some partner exercises that were explored on a previous course which had the intention of developing both our psychic and mediumistic awareness but we also explored a lot of completely new and unexpected techniques.

We reconnected with ourselves as creative beings through workshops in Inspirational Writing where everyone managed to write amazing poems without even trying and also through painting in the sense of free-form expression rather than sitting down with brushes and an easel. Had we had given too much thought to either the writing or the painting our rational minds would have taken over and got in the way but the method in which these were presented to us meant that we connected with a creative source and didn’t ‘overthink’ the process. This is my picture from our workshop – in no way a beautiful painting but rather this was intended to be and subsequently interpreted as an expression of our soul’s journey.

What can you see?

We also were treated to a demonstration of trance mediumship. I have to say that this is an area of mediumship that I have never explored and have never previously seen in action. We had the honour of being in the presence of Eileen Davies, a trance medium with over 40 years experience, who brought forth three philosophical speakers from the other side. I know this takes mediumship to a whole other level and even I was a little uncertain at first but I have definitely been won over. Without going into too much detail we had the honour of hearing the philosophical insights of three spirits speaking through Eileen. A skeptic could think she was putting on different accents BUT when sitting in the presence you could feel the change in energy of the three speakers and the words of wisdom pouring forth were quite simply mind-blowing and most significantly, relentless and flowing. Much of the audience were in tears at the sheer depth of insight that was emanating from her lips. A most incredible and unforgettable experience.

As a twist to this, we were also given the opportunity to experience trance mediumship for ourselves. Watching it is one thing, doing it another and I have to admit to being more than apprehensive at the prospect of this. Again, I don’t want to go into too much depth as I know this might be hard to grasp for many people but over the course of the week I had three opportunities to work with trance, or altered states, and these were some of the most moving experiences of the week. To truly feel  the presence and energy of Spirit takes the experience to a whole other level.

So why do I now feel I can relate this all back to Yoga? Well, obviously I myself (as are we all) am many things, not just one, so everything that interests me is me  and every time I evolve in this way my teaching and depth of understanding evolves. This course was deeply healing for me because, through the various aspects we explored, I feel that it connected me back to my Soul and to an understanding of my Soul’s longings. We are so busy in our lives that we never make time to truly listen to what our Higher Selves are trying to tell us. The space and time away from everyday life gave me the opportunity to tune deeply within and to connect with my inner Self in order to find the answers to my questions and this is a little of what we build towards in our yoga practice. To create an ease in our bodies and space for our minds to reconnect with who we truly are and what we truly need and desire.  It also connected me back to my love and understanding of Yoga Philosophy in its truest form with the striving towards enlightenment and self-realisation that are offered as the ultimate goal of yoga, the elusive Samadhi. With enlightenment and Samadhi comes the peace of true awareness and self-realisation.

I have understood again that all these elements combined: my physical practice of yoga, yoga philosophy, my teaching, my healing work and my exploration of and connection to Spirit and a deeper intuitive ability are the tools that I personally need on my own individual path to Self-Realisation. To find yours begins with self-inquiry and making time and space to connect with yourselves and ultimately to listen to your Soul.

Since coming home and resuming ‘normal’ life, although I was straight back into the housework and loving chaos of family life I still feel lighter, like something in my heart has lifted and I am going to try my very best to keep hold of these feelings but also to try to help those around me and particularly my students through my teaching to benefit from what I have learned.


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