Newsletter from Bijam

Yoga news, thoughts and practice from Bijam

Edinburgh Yoga Festival 2018

The third Edinburgh Yoga Festival is happening in May.  It raises money for Edinburgh Community Yoga because teachers donate their time and their venues.  It begins with a full weekend of events mostly at the wonderfully named Serenity Cafe, then over the week to May 20th various yoga teachers around Edinburgh are donating the money from a session or two.  You can see the whole programme on the website  www.edyogafest.co.uk

My contribution is called 

Celebrating the vital layer of our being - Sunday May 13th 2018, 1.30 - 3 pm at the Serenity Cafe Edinburgh.

The pranamaya kosha or energy sheath is the “energy department” of our system, the link between body, mind/emotions and spirit.  Prana is life; and pranayama is the control and expansion of prana.  Following the two popular 4-seminar programmes “Progressive Pranayama” I facilitated in 2017, in this 90-minute session we  will begin to look at how we...

Winter 2018 Newsletter

It already seems the the festive season is well behind us and we're all back at our regular classes and home practice,  New Year resolutions to the fore (perhaps a better name for yoga practitioners is the Sankalpa).  It’s a great idea to have a goal for our practice, whether the starting point be primarily physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, from which will flow an intention to practice to help us reach that goal.   Whatever your goal, the yoga tool-kit of practices has so much to offer.  But perhaps in this new year, we can start to realise that our practice isn’t confined to the yoga mat or the time of formal practice; it can and does include all aspects of life.  All spiritual traditions share this, of course.  

My svadhyaya (self-study/ study of texts) for this year is the fabulous Tantric text that says precisely that. Tantra and Yoga are considered to be...

Yoga class programme September 2017

Hari Om all

I hope you've all enjoyed the summer and are now looking out your yoga mats and yoga clothes!  This is a summary of the classes I'll be teaching, starting back in September.  

 

Weekly classes

  • MONDAYS - Gate 55 Sighthill 16.30 -18.15.  Class recommences Monday 4 September.  This is a mixed class, adapted to suit all levels of experience (I hope) and with modifications suggested as necessary. It's quite a large hall so plenty of space.  Phone or email me to book a place.  Bring a mat if you have one and a light cover for the yoga nidra.
  • TUESDAYS - NEW CLASS-  Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs course  (YHLB)  12 weeks - commences Tuesday 5th September - venue ChooseYOU Yoga and wellness centre, Carmondean Centre Road, Livingston EH54 8PT.  A proven yoga programme, 30% better than “usual care”, for self-management of pain-relief, healing and long-term
  • ...

Summer 2017 Newsletter- Therapeutic Yoga

Hari OM all

"Therapeutic yoga" may well be a bit of a misnomer - surely all yoga has healing properties, in the sense of bringing together body, mind and spirit.  There is certainly an amazing amount of scientific evidence building up, confirming what the ancient Rishis have always taught.

Drawing towards the end of my teaching year, I've been reflecting on the role yoga has played and continues to play in my own life.  If events get in the way of my morning practice, so that I have to shorten it or (aargh) miss it out, the day doesn't feel right. it's not only or even primarily because I need a daily practice to be able to teach.   Yoga - including the daily mantras, asanas, pranayama and meditation - is what I call my life-support system  for body, mind and spirit.  Recently I read in a blog post from the ever-interesting...

The Five Niyamas

Hari OM

This summary is derived from the class themes from last term, when we looked at and discussed how to practice Sri Patanjali's five Niyamas - guidelines for personal discipline, to help create a tranquil mind prepared for meditation.  The Niyamas are, of course, associated with the five Yamas, self-restraints or rules of conduct that help produce fertile ground for meditation practice by regulating our behaviour and emotions.  

 

1. Saucha

The word means purity.   Saucha is purification on all levels.  It involves personal cleanliness, maintaining a tidy and orderly home, eating healthy food and drinking pure water.  It is the cleanliness in mind and speech that comes from refraining from emotionally and physically charged obsessions.  It is finding the balance in life.  The heart and mind are purified of attachments. 

“When the body is cleansed, the mind purified and the senses controlled, joyful awareness needed to realise...

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Hari OM all

Last term, in the weekly classes, we continued studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali looking at the Niyamas, the five observances or rules of personal discipline to create tranquillity in the mind in preparation for meditation.  I was in the middle of preparing a summary when I pressed the wrong button after 2 hours' work and deleted the lot.  A great opportunity to practice one of them, santosha (contentment).  

So I'll just send a brief newsletter about the classes beginning after Easter and go back to the Niyamas when I've recovered!  Rather than send it out as another newsletter, I've added it as a blog post on my website www.yogawithbijam.co.uk 

 

Weekly classes

Gate 55 - the class resumes on Monday 24th April.  

Currie Community High School - I hope Term 3 will start on Tuesday April 18th but that depends on numbers.  At present...

Winter 2016 Newsletter

Hari OM everyone

My final newsletter of 2016 comes with good wishes for a very peaceful and joyful festive period to all my students and their  loved ones.  This time last year I sent out a newsletter decorated with little trees and starry snowflakes, but I don't know how to do that with this new format.  So you'll have to do the "advanced practice"...visualize them!

All my classes are now on a break until w/b January 9th 2017. 

One of the philosophical themes in the autumn term was Living an ethical life off the mat.

We looked each week at one of the Yamas, the succinct guides to our behaviour towards others recommended by Sage Patanjali in Chapter 2 of his Yoga Sutras. We've had some great discussions, so here's a reminder of some of what we covered:

The  purpose behind practising the 5 Yamas  is to calm the mind and prepare it...

Autumn 2016 Newsletter - Ayurveda and Yoga

Hari Om all

Autumn greetings!   Firstly, just a note to remind everyone who comes to my classes that I'm not teaching this week.  Normal service will resume on Monday October 24th.  Allegedly I'm spending time de-cluttering and tidying, but time alone will tell......

I hope you all enjoyed the "Indian summer" in September but colder, wetter weather has definitely set in now, with the shortening days.  Autumn is of course the transition between summer and winter, but a season in its own right, a "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" but also gusts and gales to bring the leaves down efficiently.  

My way of greeting autumn weather is to embark on an Ayurvedic cleansing programme.  They are typically done in Spring and Autumn. It's going to change my eating habits quite markedly for two weeks, with herbs, lots of water, and no between meal snacks.  Wish me luck!  ...

August 2016 Newsletter

News and Notes

Hari Om everyone

First of all, I hope you've all had a lovely summer and are looking forward to classes starting back.  Especial good wishes to the several students who will embark on Yoga Scotland courses - three  Foundation, one Living Yoga course and one teacher training.  I'd like also to mention that the summer classes for charity raised the magnificent sum of £220 - thank you all for your generosity.  Donations will be made to Freedom from Torture and a local charity sending injured ex-service personnel on a yoga retreat.

I'm home from my travels and turning my attention to the new term of yoga classes and seminars.  My two retreats this summer included a fortnight at Swami Vedantananda's centre in the hills above the Algarve, with a four day practice called Tattwa Shuddhi (intended to clear out mental rubbish!) followed by a week of karma yoga, a challenging...

Five levels of our being

In my personal practice and my teaching, I find the concept of the five aspects of ourselves – the pancha koshas – a vital foundation to help me create practice plans addressing all the aspects.  Pancha is a Sanskrit word that simply means five, and kosha means sheath.   All aspects are to be nourished and supported by different practices in the "yoga toolkit" (as my teacher Swami Pragyamurti calls it).  

 Another way of putting it is that we humans are like a lamp that has five lampshades over our light. Each of the lampshades is a different colour and density. As the light shines through the lampshades, it is progressively changed in colour and nature. On the one hand, the shades provide the individualized beauty of each lamp. Yet, the lampshades also obscure the pure light.  

This mystical concept dates right back many thousands of years to...

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