Meditation is not a religion. Nor is it a tradition involving levitation while sitting cross-legged on the floor pretending to be an all-knowing master of the universe. Meditation, sometimes disguised as boredom, slows our breath, lowers our heart rate, relaxes our mind and provides space for self-exploration while restoring our natural energy.
I, like many other agnostic young people living in the spiritual void of modern Britain, flirt with the idea of spirituality. As a spiritual dilettante, I reluctantly stretch through the odd yoga class or attempt to silence the endless flow of internal chatter using occasional meditation.
I felt as if I had arrived in the Garden of Eden - our home for a week was a luxury eco retreat, perched on the top of a hill, surrounded by four acres of fruitful Spanish gardens. The owner of Finca Paradiso, an artist, created a vibrant, colourful environment with Spanish and Moroccan influences.
What exactly does "conscious living" mean? In a nutshell, it means to be aware of your thoughts, speech and actions in every moment without causing harm to yourself or those around you. This basic approach to life may sound simple, but after centuries of tribal conditioning, living with absolute awareness requires deliberate observation and on going personal development.
Have you ever sworn at your yoga teacher whilst she/he counts S L O W L Y to eight in Boat Pose (Navasana)? Felt ecstatic in a deep backbend? Or shed a tear in Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)? Most of us have some kind of mental and emotional reaction to the shapes we put our bodies into during yoga class. Usually we just go with the flow. But once in a while certain poses trigger us.
Cycling itself has had such an upsurge in the past month, that cycle lanes are positively congested and cars are almost a thing of the past! With that in mind and lots of people coming to the studio with tight backs and thighs; I have put down a few key poses to bring some respite yoga to cycling mania.
Has anyone noticed that things are a bit 'off' in the world at the moment? How do we set about course correcting? Can anyone come up with a solution?
It seems anxiety has no friends. It definitely does not understand professional image or even social etiquette. My life was turned upside down in an instant. It gave me no choice but to ignore my good friends and my work which I was extremely passionate about. I was left with an empty buzzing of a turned on computer with no active user at home.
It's not often that you will find me at an event before 7:30am, but an invitation to an interview with Huffpost's very own Arianna Huffington was certainly a strong enough draw. And I am very glad I made it.
Everyone should be very Zen, not giving a damn what anyone else does. But the reality... The reality is that yoga classes have their own unique intimacy, which somehow conspires to make your embarrassment even more excruciating...
Many of us start the year with a list of New Years Resolutions. You could be someone who started to meditate but gave it up because your mind was busy and nirvana didn't manifest after the first week.
When Mandy comes to the mat she isn't just showing up for class, she is showing up for life. She is living it on her own terms, doing what makes her happy, warms her heart and makes her feel great. She couldn't care less about what she looks like or what people think about her.
Scroll through just about any lifestyle website or magazine, and you will have noticed a big influx in advice on the benefits of meditation. It seems every week is met with new studies from a team of researchers about its health benefits.
Got a niggling feeling that something isn't quite right? Most people who go on an intensive retreat do too. It might be your job, your health, your relationship, your stress levels... Whatever you feel like changing, here's my pick of three retreats that have helped others turn their lives around.
Right now, in the UK, if you go to the doctor with a physical pain, you invariably leave with a course of painkillers or for those suffering from mild depression, antidepressants are distributed without hesitance.
Renata, the instructor, is easily identifiable in with her gaudy Lycra leggings. There are about 15 of us sat on the mats. The group is predominantly female though a handful of guys are dotted around and there is a range of abilities from first-timers like moi, to weekly devotees.