Why Essential Nature?

In this day and age Yoga can mean many things to many people. It can be a means to increase and maintain flexibility in the body. It can be used to help relax tensions both within the body and the mind. It can be used as a therapeutic tool to help in the management, and improvement, of numerous health conditions.

These are all very tangible and very valuable effects of the practice of yoga.However the fundamental purpose of yoga, that purpose for which these systems evolved over millennia, is to open up the possibility of the human being realising deeper, more fundamental, levels of his/her being.We realise what we are in essence, in Swami Nishchalananda’s words – our, and all other apparent things, essential nature.

These are words and ideas that in the ‘cleverness’ of our modern times we may be wary, even afraid, of. However the urge to seek for deeper truths and answers has been a part of mankind from the earliest of times. We are driven to search and it is possible that many of the problems that we face in our times result from the denial of this need within us. There is nothing wrong with modern life as such – and maybe it doesn’t even have to be an impediment to our searching, if that is what we feel compelled to do.

This is why I was first drawn to yoga. From a very young age I needed answers to the most fundamental questions -

What happens to me at death?

Does God exist - and what do people mean when they speak of God?

What is the point of Life?

These are questions we all ask ourselves from time to time and for many these questions take on such importance that they are driven to search.

And it is for this search that the system of yoga evolved.

Yet as we mentioned earlier yoga can be of great benefit in many aspects of our lives. The beauty of yoga is that whatever our motivations and reasons for coming are, we will all benefit by coming together, whether for an hour and a half on a weekday or for a longer retreat, and sharing space and time.

Nature is Essential!

For me, on this continuing path, as important as any yoga practice has been time spent immersed in, and connecting, with nature. This too was a fundamental part of me as a child and, after a few years denial, I am proud to once again be a wildlife nerd.

A great passion is to photograph wildlife, especially butterflies, whenever the chance arises.

To see and photograph butterflies you have to move slowly, you have to be aware and alert to what is around you. An hour can pass by and you may have only covered 100 metres or less. You become immersed in your environment. After sometime I notice my breathing has deepened and slowed, my mind is quieter as I become more present and more absorbed. It’s meditation by any other name and you don’t have to sit in any specific position! Communion is happening and there can be no denying this – it’s good for the soul! We live in a time when the illusion of separateness seems to be becoming more and more entrenched. By simply being with other living things this sense of separateness seems to loosen. Something fundamental is recognised, or more accurately, felt within us. 

 Last August, as the intensity of summer was changing to the mellowness of autumn, I was walking at a local site, photographing butterflies, when I felt myself immersed in the most profound stillness – an alive and vibrant stillness that filled each and every blade of grass in the meadow and each and every cell in my body. All the busy-ness in the mind and emotions stopped – it all simply fell away into this stillness. It was so utterly beautiful.

 This is why I feel the need to offer simple, yet profound, experiences of nature with classical yoga and meditation practices. I love it and can think of nothing better than sharing this with others.

 Imagine a warm July morning walking in a wildflower meadow surrounded by literally hundreds of butterlies – chalkhill blues, marbled whites etc – opening their wings to greet the sun as it rises over the trees. After this we head back to our centre for breakfast and then a day of yoga, meditation and deep relaxation.

 (For the last 2 years I have run a weekend retreat in Walsingham, Norfolk along these lines and they have been a great success).

  If this sounds like something that would touch you or you are just curious please get in touch or keep an eye on the classes and events page where I’ll post details of upcoming events.

Oh and if you're interested in seeing some more, loads more if I'm honest, pictures please follow this link to my flickr page.